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Large turnout at FHS art fund-raiser

A Farragut High School fund-raiser posts one of the largest turnouts in the history of the event.

Phyllis Ball, the National Art Honor Society sponsor, predicted that the annual “Empty Bowls” dinner raised about $1000 for The Love Kitchen, an East Knoxville charity that serves and delivers meals to the needy.

Ball said she had to “pull some of the bowls leftover from past years in order to serve everybody,” adding, “Tonight was very successful.”

Kyle Tharp, club president, said the “check to [The Love Kitchen] is usually around eight hundred dollars,” and concurs with Ball that this year’s check is going to be much larger.

Gregory Frank, a senior at FHS, said this was his first year in the club, and he joined because he likes being a part of something that encourages “a sense of community, especially in art.”

Whitnee Webb also joined NAHS this year, and said she did so because the club “is a bunch of artists surrounded by artists.”

Many students said they joined because a retired teacher, Melynda Whetsel, encouraged them to do so.

“I’m a big fan of art,” Kevin Huang said. “Ms. Whetsel inspired me.” Huang added that he is “sad she left this year.” Huang is also in his first year with the club.

Ball, Whetsel’s replacement, said that Whetsel was the NAHS sponsor for years and “she was a wonderful teacher. We all miss her.”

She added that Whetsel had hoped to come to the dinner, but couldn’t because she was out of town.

Ball said one of the reasons for the large turnout at the dinner is because of an increase of student envolvement in the club.

“The club has grown in numbers in the past couple of years,” she said. Ball said she believed the club is now up to about 28 members.

Last year, several students were present when the check was given to The Love Kitchen’s founders, twins, Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, Ball said.

“I think it was overwhelming to the kids to see how much [Ashe and Turner] appreciated it,” she said.

Wendie Love, the art teacher who helped students make the soup bowls, told guests to “take this bowl as a reminder that there are empty bowls all over.” Love sculpts the bowls so students could paint, glaze and fire them.

Love said the first year NAHS gave the charity a check, their commercial-sized oven had just broken and they were “so excited to see us.”

“Empty Bowls” was held March 30 in the FHS library. Tickets were $15, and all of the proceeds went to The Love Kitchen.

The meal is intentionally simple, just soup, bread, cookies and water.

Ball said it is to remind everyone “a lot of people don’t even have this.”

This fund-raiser is just one of many projects that NAHS takes on at FHS over the school year.

Lindsey Baker, a second-year NAHS member, said the club is painting genre headings in the library, and they “painted in the outside garden earlier this year.”

Entertainment was provided by FHS students, Josh Howard, bass, and Andrew Caprise, piano. Both are part of Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra.

The Love Kitchen accepts all kinds of donations and is looking for volunteers.

For more information, call 865-546-3248.


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