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O-Town Throwdown provides aid for Ogden homeless

(Photo by Patrick Ramsay) A patron of the Only in Ogden Art Gallery looks over the bowls and art featured during the O-Town Throwdown on Friday.

The first-ever O-Town Throwdown began Friday at 4 p.m. and lasted until 4 p.m. on Saturday, all to aid The Empty Bowls Project and, in turn, provide aid to homeless Ogdenites.

“The O-Town Throwdown is a community event where we have invited the community to come here and create pottery, ceramic bowls that will be donated to a fundraiser for The Empty Bowls Project,” said Bryan Smith, owner of Only in Ogden. “The Empty Bowls Project will give the fund from the fundraiser to the St. Anne’s Lantern House, which is a new homeless shelter in Ogden.”

The funds from the O-Town Throwdown will provide men, women and families in Ogden with food, shelter and other critical services.

Typically, The Empty Bowls Project happens in many cities, sometimes with the support of local potters, but those in charge often just ask for bowls from people in the community.

Smith said he’s wanted to host a 24-hour pottery project for a while, but he hadn’t found a purpose for the event until a friend approached him for help with The Empty Bowls Project.

“The connection between our desire to do the event and The Empty Bowls Project was pure serendipity,” he said.

(Photo by Patrick Ramsay) Corey Chapman, potter of 15 years, demonstrates how to throw a bowl on a pottery wheel at the O-town Throw Down.
(Photo by Patrick Ramsay) Corey Chapman, potter of 15 years, demonstrates how to throw a bowl on a pottery wheel at the O-Town Throwdown on Friday.

Local potters provided 12 potter’s wheels. Smith said they had already gone through nearly 700 pounds of clay before the halfway mark of the event.

“It’s turned into a big first experience on the pottery wheel for a lot of people, and it’s really kind of exciting to be able to share an art form and to teach people, and at the same time we’re creating a gift to this fundraiser that I think is gonna be quite extraordinary when it’s done.”

Corey Chapman, Ogden resident, was introduced to pottery 15 years ago when he was in high school, and has carried on his passion for pottery ever since.

“I just liked the functionality of it, and making something that I can actually use,” he said. “I have lots of bowls and coffee mugs that I use at my house all the time.”

Chapman has taken art classes at Weber State University.

“(Making pottery is) pretty much just playing in mud, like you did when you were 5, except I’m making something,” he said.

Local musicians performed for the duration of the event. Sammy Brue, who gathered public attention as a street musician at the Sundance Film Festival, was among them.

“If you don’t know about Sammy Brue, he’s this amazing up-and-coming young artist (and) songwriter extraordinaire,” Smith said. “I mean, the guy is giving Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie a run for their money.”

Only in Ogden features locally made art, clothing and other Ogden memorabilia. The gallery also has a coffee shop that offers free Wi-Fi and a stage open to any musician and their preferred instrument.

“We’re always open to new ideas,” Smith said, “so if anybody wants to present an idea or we’ve got an artist that would like to come up and be part of what we’re doing, we’re open for it.”

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