Annual Charity Bowl Sale opens 2-day run at San Juan College Thursday

Fundraising event will benefit 2 local organizations

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • For $10, visitors receive a serving of soup and get to choose a bowl to take home.
  • The event has become a holiday tradition in Farmington since its inception nearly 20 years ago.
  • The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at San Juan College.

FARMINGTON — Ceramics students in the San Juan College pottery department have been churning out new pieces at a brisk rate for the past several weeks in preparation for the college's annual Charity Bowl Sale Thursday and Friday.

Nancy Tso, left, of Shiprock, and Daisy Yazzie, of Kirtland, throw ceramic bowls Friday for the annual Charity Bowl Sale beginning Thursday at San Juan College.

The event allows shoppers to choose from among hundreds of handcrafted bowls and enjoy a serving of soup from the campus restaurant, Mary's Kitchen, for $10. Proceeds from the event will benefit two nonprofit organizations, and the event has become a holiday tradition in Farmington since its inception nearly 20 years ago.

"I've been doing it for 13 years, and I think it was going on for five years before that," said Don Ellis, a professor of fine arts at the college and the longtime organizer of the sale.

Ellis said he interacts every year with people who started coming to the sale when their children were youngsters. Those same families continue to show up, he said, only now, those kids are in college.

Some shoppers are more devoted to the sale than others, Ellis said.

"We have people that buy 10 bowls and people that buy one," he said, describing how some shoppers bring laundry baskets with them to carry their purchases. "The college employees have really supported the event."

Don Ellis

Ellis said students and faculty members produce approximately 1,300 to 1,500 bowls for the event each year, with nearly all of them being sold. He said the first few hours of the event attract the biggest crowd.

"One thing people would like to know is it's best to get there early," he said. "The second-day pickings are a little slim."

To address that situation, Ellis said he has taken to firing up the department's kiln on the first night of the sale and finishing some additional bowls that can be used to replenish the selection on Friday.

For most of its existence, the sale was a fundraiser for Northwest New Mexico Hospice. But for the past couple of years, it has benefited other area nonprofit groups.

John Bintz, an adjunct humanities faculty member at San Juan College, throws a bowl for the Charity Bowl Sale set for this weekend at the college.

Ellis said he has chosen the recipient in the past, but this year, he decided to appoint a four-member student committee to make that choice. The students selected Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico and the San Juan County chapter of It's My Very Own, a national organization that supplies Bags of Love featuring such items as quilts, stuffed animals, toys, books and personal items to children who have been displaced from their homes.

The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in the 9000 meeting rooms of the Henderson Fine Arts Center on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington.

The work of other San Juan College art students and faculty members will be featured in a new exhibition opening Friday in the center's art gallery. That show features various media, including paintings, drawings, sculpture and digital media. It remains on display through Nov. 30, and an opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Call 505-566-3464 for more information.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

San Juan College students and faculty members create 1,300 to 1,500 pieces each year for the college's annual Charity Bowl Sale.