The St. Kate's Empty Bowls Project

The St. Kate's Empty Bowls Project - since 2010

Collaborative Bowl Sculpture: created over 2 years during COVID by several students and Monica to commemorate our project's 10th anniversary

Our Mission

Our mission is to use the power of (making) art to create meaningful connections, build community and create and inspire change.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to make bowls 

as a way to raise both funds and awareness of food insecurity in our community. 

Since 2010 we have supported Open Arms of Minnesota and the work they do in our community.  

Recently, food insecurity has become an increasing problem on college campuses; 

To help mitigate food insecurity on our campus, we are adding the St Kate’s Food Access Hub as another recipient of funds from our project in 2021.


⦿ Making bowls and raising awareness since 2010

⦿ Over 5,000 Bowls made

⦿ More than 100 Bowl Making Events

Over 2,000 student participants

⦿ More than 20 Soup Socials 

⦿ Over $20,000 raised 

⦿ More than 4,000 meals provided for Open Arms

⦿ 2018 Presidents’ Civic Engagement Steward Award, Campus Compact

⦿ One Sculptural Bench installed at Open Arms 

⦿ One Collaborative Sculpture, celebrating 10 years 

Read about the St. Kate's Empty Bowls Project from past participants:

“My first experience with Empty Bowls was to come over and try to make a bowl. 

It was the first time I had ever tried pottery. Like anything else, it is much harder than it looks.

I have enjoyed the times I was able to have soup in the bowl someone else made.

For me, it is the perfect symbol of how we all hold each other in our hands and try to help make things better for the other.

In doing so, our hearts are filled too.”

-President Roloff

“The empty bowls project was the first way that I became involved as a first-year student. Discovering the healing properties of working with clay and using my hands to create a story within a bowl is beautiful. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have served through Empty Bowls” 


"Given the chance to volunteer to deliver food to clients and see the range of people they provide food for was eye-opening, it made me think about how much more we can do to help. Especially now with COVID-19, it has been a difficult time for Open Arms to deliver food to clients with many of them being affected."


"The first time I heard about Open Arms was when my professor told my class we were going to volunteer by delivering food. This was eye-opening for me because my small team and I were able to deliver food around St. Paul and see the smiles of the individuals who benefit from this service."

— Wendy

"With these bowls, we are representing each individual who is fighting and each meal they can receive."  

"The St. Kate’s Empty Bowls project is a great way to help out in our community." 

— Megan 

"Being a part of this project and being able to create my own bowl while helping to feed families, especially in these difficult times, has truly been a heartwarming and eye-opening experience."

 — Barbara

"Thank you for your creation of the Empty Bowls project at St. Kate's. I remember it starting small, and with your gentle and consistent guidance, it has become one of the most important events for creating community on campus. I love that it is in the gallery space, includes the entire community and provides support to those in need. I know it looks effortless under your guidance but actually, I imagine there are many details and much time spent on preparing the classes for making the bowls, coordinating the volunteers, preparing the space and the food, hosting the event and cleaning up afterward. I am very grateful for your time and efforts. Thank you for this University-wide contribution!"

Laurie Anderson Sathe, Ed.D. St Catherine University Director, Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies

"This project is unique in that it allows students to directly address the issue of food insecurity in our community through our artwork. It’s a project that reinforces the idea that all disciplines can be beneficial and positively impact the world if the practitioner has the right intentions and mindset. Please pass the bowl and help as you can."


"Making bowls for this project has changed my view on how art can communicate with others. These bowls represent the importance of a healthy meal and the right to have one. Open Arms’ mission is truly amazing and we were able to communicate their goal to the community through our bowls."


"Being a part of this project has been eye-opening because by making a bowl I am able to fight for a social issue: hunger that many people are going through now. Especially during these difficult times all the way from my home I can make a difference in someone’s life."


"The St. Kate’s Empty Bowls Project has really changed my perspective on the interactions between a piece of art, the artist, and the audience. Through this project with Open Arms, art can cause concrete, positive change, so please pass the bowl and help us fight food insecurity in our community."