So, the great thing about the Powderhorn Art Fair is this community. I’ll always sign up for this event. I got married in this park, ITHOTB’s MayDay Parade and Pageant is here every year (basically, a part of our religion), we served on the board to make Powderhorn Empty Bowls happen for six years. This park is the jewel of the neighborhood. Before all of the things I just mentioned, I had lived in 4 or 5 houses close by, attended candlelight vigils, pagan festivities, had art openings, punk shows, you name it; it’s here. This is home.

Michael Ziomko, founder of Powderhorn Empty Bowls, throwing pots at the PoHo Art Sho.

For years, I’d be at this event to coordinate bowl throwing for Empty Bowls, an event that my husband and I helped organize. For an annual community meal in the Fall, we collected about 2,000 donated bowls, served 2-300 gallons of home made soup, baked several hundred loaves of bread in an earthen oven on site, and raised about $30,000 for charity. Proceeds went toward ending local hunger through partnering organizations like Sisters Camelot, The Division of Indian Work, Youth Farm and others.

The Empty Bowls bread oven. Pots to be -wood-fired for PEB at Rogue Potters‘ kiln in Taylor’s Falls, along the St. Croix Valley – my other home.

Because of all the history here, this location is charged with all sorts of good juju. This art fair isn’t really about selling wares, it’s about participating in this community, seeing all of my people, gathering feedback, yes, but that’s just an added benefit. Events like this help keep us oriented toward the center (in this case, Powderhorn Park) of our people. What binds us together – shared experience, values, location, identity as being of a place? This little public ritual helps tap all of the roots I’m growing out of. I may travel far away from this place, but it’s always going to be home.

Flash Back to Transition Town: Preparatory work for the MayDay Parade, in the belly of the Avalon Theater on Lake Street.

Empty Bowls taught me about Social Practice and organizing for change. There are parts of that experience that carry forward in all sorts of ways with what I’m doing now, though sometimes not readily apparent – even to me. The desire for social justice persists. I cut my teeth on this project; overstepping, getting hands slapped, wising-up and persisting undeterred. I hope that someday more of these themes can emerge in my work, in a way that is honest and comes naturally, not forced, at ease with what truth I can offer to the conversation.



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