Sasha Alexandra, Altered Porcelain, 5 x 6 x 5".

Corey Johnson, Philadelphia, PA, procelain, 3 x 5 x 5".

Ceramic Bowls for Food and for Raising Funds for Those in Need

Jen Watson, porcelain and slip,6 x 7 x 7".

Grouping of bowls from all five ceramists, porcelain, stoneware, various sizes.

 

Revolution Methodist Church
500 40th Street
Kansas City
Bowling with Neighbors (Neighbor to Neighbor)
October 30, 2011

By BLAIR SCHULMAN

As harsh winter weather approaches, Kansas City’s hungry and homeless become more reliant on help wherever it may come from.

Ceramacist Roberto Lugo gives back to the community with his event “Bowling with Neighbors,” selling ceramic vessels donated by artists locally and from around the country. This fundraiser, as part of the already-established Neighbor to Neighbor program, a local mission run by a staff of homeless or impoverished citizens, hopes to raise $1,500 to be used for much needed resources. Hoping to receive 50 donated bowls, Lugo is looking to charge a minimum of around $30 each, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Neighbor to Neighbor. Food prepared by Lugo himself will be served in these bowls that participants take home. Participating artists include Jen Watson, Sasha Alexandra, Dean Roper, Colin Ziha, Eli Jurado, Kahlil Irving, Jordan Kern, Joseph Hutchins, Brett Ginsburg, Jay Spalding, Andrew Holman, Corey Johnson, Katy Long, David Oicata.

This year’s event is planned for Sunday, October 30, at Revolution Methodist Church, 500 40th Street, Contact: Roberto Lugo at 816-214-3771 or email: rlugo@kcai.edu.

Since its inception in 1996, Neighbor to Neighbor has been located inside Revolution Methodist Church. They shelter more than 20 people a night and serve three hot meals a day feeding an average of 250 people each day. On-site health care, seasonal clothing, hygiene supplies, showers, voicemail, job placement, addiction referrals are also available.

Working with husband and wife pastors Eric and Geovanna Huffman for this event, Lugo wants to create objects of value from his education that he says, “link back to the community.” The 30-year old artist has done this type of fundraiser in a silent auction with the Sanford, Florida SPCA in 2006.

Lugo prepares the evening meal, its menu yet to be finalized, including staples of his own Puerto Rican heritage. He, along other other artists, serve the guests. Lugo sees the idea of serving as a metaphor for the work he makes and what he hopes to achieve with it.

A senior at Kansas City Art Institute, Lugo is in a work/study program as a teaching assistant. He approached artists in the school and across the country to donate work. He also put out a call on his blog http://robertolugoceramics.wordpress.com that continues to attract artists. People he met at various art schools and residencies were also approached, including Tom Jones of Clay City in Fairhope, Alabama, a residency that Lugo participated in this past summer. So far, artists from Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well Kansas City, have donated work.

In response to the call for donated crafts, Lugo discussed philanthropic interests with artists and to filter out promotional opportunities. He was bowled over, if you’ll pardon the pun, by the overwhelming response from artists willing to help for this cause.

Working in ceramics, Lugo sees touching clay as having the ability to create value. Taking something that was once dirt in the ground, then turning it into something tangible and useful holds a special appeal to him. He attributes his former professor Jay Spalding as the person responsible for teaching him how to throw pottery.

For Lugo, whose intent has been to teach, his studio practice is an interesting hybrid of traditional methods and street art. China painting, which is layer over glaze and elements of graffiti find their way onto his porcelains.

In his native Philadelphia, Lugo was given the graffiti tag ROBSKE, by his brother Luis, with whom he is very close and whose image is sometimes incorporated into his work. For the Lugo family, the tag is a rite of passage. Many family members are taggers and as Lugo says, “It’s a generational thing.”

Lugo’s work seeks out a juxtaposition of painterly qualities. By letting the outside world into his pieces, this treatment of collectivism is yet another dynamic of his own need for giving back to his community

Kahlil Irving, Porcelain 3 x 4 x 4".

Roberto Lugo, Stoneware, 4 x 6 x 6".