Joseph Gulotta-


The University of WisconsinStout Cross-Media Graphics (CMG) program has paired with Stepping Stones of Dunn County to promote their annual event Empty Bowls. The event partners Stepping Stones with businesses in the community, students at both of UWStout’s campuses and at Menomonie High School to raise awareness and money for the fight against hunger.


UWStout students in the Cross-Media Graphics program have been working this semester to provide the event with all its printing needs. From posters to table tents, the CMG students were putting their technical skills to a good cause.


Student Matthew Sweeney spoke about the project, saying, “I’ve been working with Stepping Stones producing some awesome videos to advertise for the event and getting to talk to Grant Ruegnitz, the art teacher at Menomonie High School. Professor Cindi Greening had a great idea to team up with the CMG postpress class and have her graphics tools class design all the content posters, tickets, save the dates etc. All of it was handed over to Professor Keif Oss’ postpress class to cut it down, package it up and send it over to the printing company.”


When asked how he saw giving back to the community affecting his fellow classmates’ work, Matthew added, “When you can create art, see it come to life and see it become a solid thing at an event like this, it really makes a difference. To make something like that and see it put into action has a much bigger impact on us than just turning it into a teacher.”


Members of UWStout’s ceramics program contributed to the event as well. To raise money for Stepping Stones food pantry, bowls were decorated and donated to the event. Members of the community were welcomed to the Menomonie High School cafeteria to enjoy a hot bowl of soup served right into these decorative bowls. Advanced tickets sold a meal and the bowl together for fifteen dollars. The event gives opportunities for artists to show off their work while giving back to the community at the same time. UWStout ceramics, Menomonie High School and other local artists donated bowls for the event.


Empty Bowls is an annual event for Stepping Stones of Dunn County, which last year managed to raise $10,000 for its food pantry. Professor Cindi Greening, who also works part time for Stepping Stones with their Marketing team, tells the story of how UWStout’s connection to this event got started.


She was initially approached by fellow CMG professor Kief Oss with a problem. Kief said, “normally I just have them [the students] cut stuff [their work] up and wind up throwing them away, do you have any ideas on something they could make that they wouldn’t have to throw away?” Greening said.


It was with this that Greening was inspired to set up a project to connect the students with Stepping Stones. Students were then split between working on prints for Empty Bowls and another event Stepping Stones hosts: The Garden Tour. The 16th annual Garden Tour will take place on June 24 and will feature similar work from the CMG program with posters, post cards, save the dates and other assorted printing materials.


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