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Hot Soups Hit the Spot

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Guests peruse bowls made by MAC and UH Maui College Molokai students. Photo by Josiah Ching.

After a week of torrential rains and whipping winds, island residents cozied up to steaming bowls of homemade soup at the Molokai Arts Center (MAC)’s fifth annual Soup’ R Bowl event last Saturday night.

Nearly 20 artists of all levels crafted ceramic bowls for the hundreds of people who showed up at the event, held at the Molokai Community Health Center. Guests could choose from 578 different bowls to eat soup from and later take home.

“One of the things that I appreciate about ceramics as an art is that it’s really functional,” said MAC Development Director Helen Kekalia. “I think this event highlights the functionality of art. It’s not just beauty and expressing yourself.”

Event Head Chef Joyce Haase, Take’s Variety Store staff and a team of volunteers cooked four different soups, along with salad and bread. MAC Board President Emillia Noordhoek said they also incorporated various local products into the meal. Vegetables for salads and soups came from Barking Deer Farm and Kumu Farms. Barking Deer Farm also provided hibiscus tea served with kiawe honey from Molokai Gold.

Guests took in acoustic entertainment and hula performances with their meal and bid on art pieces in the silent auction.

Molokai resident Vicki Underwood said she enjoyed having a social event in such a beautiful setting. Aside from the chicken tortilla soup, resident Marilyn Schwinn said she also liked the fact that the event drew a wide diversity of people. Underwood selected a bowl molded with grooves for holding chopsticks, while Schwinn picked up a sky blue model with a glaze finish that “looks like it has a smiley face.”

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Volunteer Yvonne Everhart serves soup with a smile. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

“Mostly I enjoy seeing the people come and have a good time. I don’t really care how much money we make,” said potter Dan Bennett, MAC’s co-founder and treasurer. “… It’s about the same time of the year as the regular Super Bowl, so [the name is] fresh in people’s minds.”

MAC is a nonprofit community art facility that opened at Coffees of Hawaii in 2012, after Bennett and a group of fellow enthusiasts had been operating a studio since 2005 that would become the foundations of the center, according to MAC’s website. Soup’ R Bowl is one of two annual MAC fundraisers and brings in $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the year, said Bennett. Proceeds go back into the art programs, which include such classes as ceramics, jewelry making and painting.

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