Student spotlight: Bowls for Humanity

By selling handmade bowls filled with warm soup, Bowls for Humanity fundraiser helps put a roof over the Utah County homeless.


Local pottery artists donated handcrafted bowls to be sold at the Bowls for Humanity Fundraiser. Jake Buntjer/UVUREVIEW

Most people see a problem in society, wish there was a way to fix it and move on with their lives. Occasionally, some will donate a few dollars to the charity of their choice, hoping to make some small difference, but even then, proactive measures are not taken.

That is not the case with Tammy Rodeback, a senior getting her BFA with an emphasis in Fine Arts. On the eve of 2007, Rodeback found herself watching the news about a homeless Provo man who had frozen to death in his Jeep. The man, Larry Edward Carter, was 48 years old and had been struggling with homelessness for fifteen years. Carter passed away only four blocks away from Rodeback’s home.

Struck by the fact that there wasn’t a homeless shelter in Utah County, Rodeback felt a change needed to happen – the sooner the better. It was then that she was inspired to organize Bowls for Humanity, a charity dinner where local potters make bowls to auction off to the public. The bowls, which are all hand-made, are filled with soup, so not only are individuals helping the homeless problem in Utah, they are also getting a beautiful piece of art and are receiving a warm meal.

The first year the charity was established Rodeback called on all the local artists she knew to see if they were interested in donating pottery for the event. In just a month, she was able to collect more than 200 bowls and still found time to arrange for soup to be catered. The experience proved to be positive, as all the bowls were sold and all proceeds going to the Food & Care Coalition facility in Provo, which was able to open in 2009.

Rodeback recalls that she had absolutely no expectations for that first year. She only “hoped to create a fundraiser for the homeless problem in Utah County and help educate the population about ceramics.” It was also a great way for local artists, especially pottery artists, to gain recognition in a fairly conservative art community.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Bowls for Humanity, with the event only getting bigger each year. Last year’s goal of 400 bowls donated was exceeded, and this year is looking to do the same. UVU professor Brian Jensen has donated nearly 100 bowls himself, along with the school’s Clay Club donating pieces as well. In addition, high schools from all over the valley have joined the cause and donated. Local school Orem High is a major contributor to the charity and has been for a few years. They have even inspired Orem Junior High to help and do nate bowls.

This year’s goal is to help the Food & Care Coalition finish the second floor of their facility. This floor will be reserved for “transitional housing” for the homeless, a place for them to stay while they get their lives together. The Coalition is adamant that it will not be a free ride. Residents will be required to work around the facility, attend specific treatments (if applicable) and participate in work training.

The fifth annual Bowls for Humanity fundraiser will take place on Friday, March 4 from 6-9 p.m. at the Food & Care Coalition (299 East 900 South, Provo). Admission is free and handmade soup bowls, filled with soup and a roll, range from $5-20. Those not interested in purchasing pottery can still get soup for $3 per bowl, catered by the Food & Care Coalition, as well as Marvellous Catering.

Name: Tammy Rodeback
Year: Senior
Major: BFA with an emphasis in Fine Arts

Where are you from?
Provo, UT

What are your post-UVU plans?
Ideally, teaching ceramics on a community level.

What has been your favorite UVU class?
Probably oil painting.

How about your favorite UVU professor?
Art professors Catherine Downing and Brian Jensen, plus Art History lecturer Courtney Davis.

What do you do when you’re not a student? Do you have a job or any unusual or interesting hobbies?
I’ve been a pottery artist for 16 or 17 years and selling my work for 12-13 years. I also teach pottery at the Red Kiln Pottery Studio in Salt Lake.

Are you part of any UVU clubs? Which ones?
Yes, I am the president of the Ceramic Artist Association. We’re having a Mother’s Day fundraiser in April, so stay tuned for that.

Why do you get up in the morning, or what motivates you to do the things you do?
[What inspired me to organize Bowls for Humanity was] a nagging feeling that something needed to happen, that someone needed to help and participate.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past year?
RED

What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching BONES on Netflix.

In your opinion, what is the most beautiful place on earth and why?
Anywhere outdoors. It’s peaceful, spiritual and beautiful.

Zombies or vampires?
Vampires.

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow UVU students, what would it be?
Stay focused – it will come to an end!

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