Fighting Hunger One Bowl at a Time

Erin Juarez

Every year since 2008, the Wynne Home Arts and Visitor Center has hosted “Empty Bowls,” a fundraiser that helps fight hunger in Walker and Madison Counties.

Supervised by Sarah Faulkner, the Cultural Services Manager for the City of Huntsville, the event promoted the arts, brought the community together, and raised more than $3,000 for Meals on Wheels.

And every year since 2008, the LEAP Ambassadors have volunteered for this event–indeed, it was a LEAP intern who was charged with creating the event!

But LEAP Ambassadors were far from the only ones to help: approximately 250 people in the community participated–working as ceramic teachers, volunteering the day of the event, sponsoring the soup, or simply by showing up and purchasing a bowl of soup.

This year, donors could try soups from Carbonero, City Hall Cafe, 5 Loaves Deli, Floyd’s on 14th, and Huntsville High School Culinary class, and we also had some finger foods on hand to supplement the soups.

Compared to the ceramicists and soupmakers, our tasks were simple: greet people…

…serve soup…

…help clean, and take photos–all while enjoying the art, the Wynne Home, and the company of the fine people who attended.

It was a great learning experience, and it was a bonus to see the beautiful bowls created by talented others…

including those created for silent auction (which our professor won!)…

… as well as the current exhibit, which are all pieces from the Wynne Home’s archives–ranging from works by Samuella Wynne to Richard Haas. And, of course, whenever we are there, we take additional looks at the Wynne Home’s permanent collection, such as works by Pebworth and Surls.

Many thanks to the sponsors, the ceramics teachers, and the many people who came out and helped make the event a success.

Hopping and LEAPing to a Good Time!

Birds were chirping, and the sun was shining. You could practically hear laughter in the air.  It is the time of the year when children all over the US look for a massive scavenger hunt.  And what are they searching for? Well, eggs of course!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

Easter, along with Christmas and Halloween, is one of the most egg-citing holidays that people of all ages can enjoy. What’s not fun about the opportunity to find candy, toys, and possibly a good egg to crack on someone else’s head?  And in our little town of Huntsville we don’t disappoint.

One of the most anticipated events during the spring semester is the annual Wynne Home Arts Center Easter Egg Hunt. Alina Ward, an SHSU junior and the Wynne Home intern, organized this event, adding a fun little twist to it that cracked everyone up.

Alina prepared for months in advance, and the night before the big event, we gathered together for final preparation.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

The next day, we arrived at the Wynne Home anxious to see what the day had in store for us. We set up our tables, put up signs, and began to hide the eggs around the Wynne home.

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Before we began to welcome families, we decided to imitate the Easter Bunny and take some eggstravagant leaping photos.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

As families began to arrive, we opened up our arts and crafts area, which was a popular destination for them; we had kids decorating plastic eggs and some made cascarones, or confetti eggs, to use later on. The children had many different ideas for decorating their eggs. One child made his egg into an Easter Bunny, while others painted their egg with their favorite colors..

We had about 75 children–and another 100-plus parents–attend this year’s egg hunt, all eager to hunt and play games. One of our more popular games was the donut game: the object of which was to eat a donut off of a string without using hands.

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The game was a lot of fun but created a sticky situation.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

Less sticky, but no less intense, were our sack races, which were also a big hit with the kids rushing and jumping to win!

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All winners received a ticket that earned them a prize from the prize table that was managed by Victoria and Chase.

Before the hunt the Easter Bunny came out to say hello to all of the children. Some kids were excited to see her while others hid behind their parents or cried when she walked by.

The clock showed 11:30 and Alina Ward made the big announcement. The Easter egg hunt was about to begin. We split the kids up by age groups: 0-5, 6-10, and 11 and over. The LEAP Ambassadors helped things and hide about 2,000 eggs for the children to find. Each of the age groups had different locations around the house to search for their eggs; Alina yelled “Start” and all of the kids stormed onto the lawn to find colorfully shiny eggs. The kids were cheerful as they raced to gather as many as possible.

After the hunt, everyone lined up for hot dogs, grilled by Stephanie Fors, our team mom and a continuous supporter of the LEAP Center.  Makayla and Ryan also helped to distribute chips, cookies, and drinks.

Our final event for the afternoon was the breaking of the piñatas.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

We gave each child a chance to hit the piñata three times, and then give others a turn. It wasn’t long before the candy was falling like rain.

After cleaning up, some of the LEAP girls decided to have a mini photo shoot in the beautiful back lawn of the Wynne Home.  This reminded some of us that we have four weeks until graduation and that we would miss being a part of community events like this.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

We would like to thank the Friends of the Wynne and the LEAP Center for their donations, as well as the hard-working volunteers for coming out to help make all of this possible.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,

This event is a fun tradition that we hope to see everyone at next year!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Wynne Home, Easter Egg Hunt,


Surls’ Swirls Come to the Wynne Home

By Megan Chapa

James Surls, the American Modern artist and SHSU alum, opened a show at the Wynne Home Arts Center on Saturday, November 5, 2016.  The event attracted more than 100 visitors, with the opening reception sponsored by the Friends of the Wynne and staffed by the LEAP Ambassadors.

Wynne Home Arts Center, Karla Rosales, Kaitlyn Tyra

“Wynne Home exhibit openings are always fun,” noted LEAP President Alejandra Galvan, “but this one, involving James Surls, was a special honor.”

It was a sentiment shared by many of those who attended the opening reception.

Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU

James Surls graduated from SHSU in 1965 with his Bachelors in Arts, and from Cranbrook Academy of Art with his MFA in 1968.  His distinctive style, often marked by wooden or bronze flower petals, is often described as “organic.”

James Surls, Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Center, SHSU

Included in the Wynne Home exhibit was a combination of Surls’ sculptures and sketches, both of which elicited praise from the opening night’s visitors.

“We have seen Surls’ work at many museums,” noted LEAP Ambassador Megan Chapa, “but we haven’t seen his smaller pieces, and we have never had the chance to meet him, so this was nice!”

Surls was personable, speaking for about 15 minutes and explaining some of the pieces in the show.  He divided them into feminine and masculine pieces, with the feminine pieces being more curved; the masculine pieces being more angular.  He also spoke of his love for his wife, and how it has impacted his art.

James Surls, Wynne Home Arts Center, LEAP Center, SHSU

Following his discussion, Mr. Surls was nice enough to sign some photos of his work that we brought to the show.  He graciously did so, while chatting comfortably with us.

James Surls, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Wynne Home Arts Center

The exhibit will stay up for six months, twice the usual length of a show.  In the past, the Wynne Home has had exhibits featuring David Adickes, Jesus Moroles, Ken Zonker, and Stanley Lea.

The Wynne Home also offers art classes to the public in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.  The classes include topics as diverse as classic film, salsa dancing, oil painting, and cooking.  The Wynne Home is open Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.

The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Wynne Home Director Linda Pease, Friends of the Wynne President Nancy Gaertner,  Friends of the Wynne Vice President Genevive Brown, and the entire Friends of the Wynne board for the opportunity to assist.  And, of course, we’d like to thank Mr. James Surls for his art and for his appearance in Huntsville, Texas.