The event designed to aid GFUs Doug Campbell attend speech therapy after suffering a stroke

After suffering a stroke in November 2012, George Fox University art professor Doug Campbell’s speech was significantly impaired, making him unable to teach in the classroom any longer. To help offset medical expenses and send Campbell to speech therapy, the university will hold its fourth “Empty Bowls” fundraiser dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Klages Dining Hall.

Tickets to attend the dinner are $12 per person and includes a handmade ceramic bowl. If a family of four or more wants to attend they can purchase tickets for $10 a person.

In November 2013, 40 students, alumni, professors and other professional and amateur artists came together to throw the ceramic bowls that will be given away at the fundraiser. After the initial “throw-a-thon” 100 volunteers finished trimming, firing and glazing the 2,200 bowls. by: GARY ALLEN - Group effort - In November, 40 students, alumni, professors and other professional and amateur artists came together to throw the ceramic bowls that will be given away at the Empty Bowls fundraiser Friday.

“It is all about using art to make a difference. … The bit of our world we would like to change with this event is the life of our good friend and the founder of our art department, Doug Campbell,” said Mark Terry, an associate professor of art at GFU and one of the event’s organizers.

The “throw-a-thon” was the first step in raising money to send Campbell to a specialized in-patient speech therapy program.

Doctors recommended that Campbell undergo the therapy, which is the same treatment former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords received to overcome her aphasia after being shot in the head in 2011, but his insurance wouldn’t pay for it.

“Our friends were about to raid their retirement in order to try and pay for it and we said, ‘Not on our watch you’re not,’” Terry recalled. “The program is six weeks and I think about $30,000 and it’s our goal to raise at least half.”

A couple of extra wheels were brought into the studio so that as many as 16 people could churn out bowls simultaneously well into the night. Two rudimentary tabletop scoreboards were used to track how many bowls had been thrown and a loud cheer went up when 1,000 bowls had been completed just before 7 p.m. By about 11 p.m., the crew was down to about 12 people, who brought the total up to just more than 2,000 bowls by 2:30 a.m., when the supply of clay ran out. That afforded them the opportunity to get some sleep and the final goal was reached after they returned on the following afternoon.

Senior Miranda DeVore, who took classes with Campbell as a freshman and sophomore, put in a long shift at the studio and said the whole concept was wonderful.

“I kind of focused on being centered because I’m not used to being around this many people when I throw,” DeVore said. “But Doug came in earlier and that was definitely a good reminder why we’re doing this.”

Like it was with the throw-a-thon, the event should draw patrons for a variety of reasons, as it will afford them the opportunity to take home some unique pottery, eat a great meal and potentially get a steal of a deal on high-end art from the art community that will be auctioned off.

The last time the university held an Empty Bowls fundraiser, it garnered about $18,000 to benefit victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The fundraiser event is being sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, Newberg Bakery and food donated by Bon Appetit.

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