Seekonk students use ‘art as action’ to help those in need | Communities

SEEKONK — Students at Aitken Elementary School got together with their families last month to raise money for a good cause — by eating ice cream.

Organized by school art teacher Jacqueline Glum, students and their families had the opportunity to purchase student-made ceramic bowls to raise money for Doorways, a local food pantry. Free ice cream offered by Hershey’s, which has a branch in Seekonk, was available as a treat.

The event was associated with Empty Bowls, an artist movement that supports food-related charities. At an Empty Bowls event, community members sell bowls to raise money for local charities.

“The bowls represent that there are a lot of food insecure people out there,” Glum said.

Although Empty Bowls has been around since the 1990s, Glum said it was the first time such an event had taken place in Seekonk. And the events are usually centered around older attendees with soup, not ice cream, handed out.

But Glum wanted the event at her school to be something more age-appropriate, more fun. Not only did it include ice cream, but the School of Rock also provided a live musical performance. This led Glum to dub the event “Ice-Creamapalooza”, a reference to the Lollapalooza music festival.

The school’s parent-teacher organization also participated in the event and benefited from a grant drafted by the Seekonk Cultural Council. The grant enabled Glum to purchase materials such as clay for the students to make the bowls.

“Students used art as action,” Glum said. “For young people, learning empathy by creating art to impact their community is a great thing.”

By May, the school had raised $1,600 for Doorways and was continuing to fundraise.

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Christopher S. Washington