Art center celebrates anniversary by feeding the hungry

By Megan Wehring
BUDA — With one in seven Hays County residents food insecure, Inspired Minds Art Center is raising funds for the Hays County Food Bank while celebrating its first anniversary Jan. 30.
The statistics on food security is according to Feeding America, which says that only 40% of households in need qualify for federally supported programs.
The art center in Buda is teaming up with local artists and restaurants to host an Empty Bowl event called, “Buy a Bowl, Feed 100 People.” Inspired Minds set a $2,500 goal for the Hays County Food Bank to provide at least 10,000 meals.
All handcrafted and ceramic bowls sold at the events will be accompanied with gourmet soup to-go from Amici, Batwings Co., Helen’s Casa Alde or Los Olivos Market. The bowls and the soup will be available in the Inspired Minds gallery from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Proceeds from each $25 Empty Bowl purchase will go directly to the Hays County Food Bank to feed 100 people.

Logo from the Hays County Food Bank website.

“Part of the fun of an Empty Bowl event is that the community comes together to enjoy a bowl of soup and socialize,” co-owner Sinéad Whiteside said. “However, because of COVID-19, we’ll be offering the soup in to-go containers. We’ll give people the option to take it home or eat it outside on our patio or elsewhere outside along Main Street.”
Challenges and chaos can only begin to describe the pandemic year. Whiteside looks back on what she and fellow owner Susan Guerra have accomplished.
“We are so grateful to have made it through this very strange first year,” Whiteside said. “Susan and I have worked so hard every day to keep our doors open and to fulfill our mission to support local artists and the community by joining them together to inspire a dialogue of creativity, passion, fine art, and a celebration of culture.”
Located in downtown Buda, the art center is surrounded by a budding community. Whiteside highlighted that Inspired Minds has received enormous support from “local artists who have stuck with us” to teach both in-person and virtual classes, the city of Buda who has “advocated for us in so many ways,” and “families, friends, and members of the community who have stepped up to volunteer.”
Raising funds for summer camp scholarships, installing the first public artwork in downtown Buda and allowing the community to safely gather outside for the Buda Plein Art Festival are just a few of Whiteside’s favorite moments from the last year.
“We are constantly amazed at the level of support that we’ve received from friends, family, local businesses and government, and complete strangers through donations, knowledge, expertise and a helping hand when we’ve needed it most,” Whiteside said. “Thank you for continuing to support us while we work tirelessly to turn this grand dream of creating a cultural hub into a reality for the benefit of us all.”
With the new year underway, community members can expect to see even more from Inspired Minds. These features include more diverse art courses, scholarship funds, partnerships with local businesses and the city of Buda; and music, theatre education along with live performances in the Chamber Theatre.
Whiteside and Guerra credit local artist and teacher, Lisa Klingemann, for bringing the Empty Bowl event to their attention months ago.
“We immediately decided that this event would be the perfect way to celebrate our first year because it embodies our mission so well,” Whiteside said. “So many parts of our community together in a creative, generous, and celebratory way to provide support for those who need it most.”
For more information and to RSVP to the “Buy a Bowl, Feed 100 People” event, residents should visit or call 512-537-3987.

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About Author

Megan Wehring graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Wehring has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch for a year, covering all things local. This includes city council meetings, town events, education and human interest stories. Previously, Wehring worked at KTSW FM-89.9 (Texas State University's official radio station) for two consecutive years. She was a news reporter, assistant news director and monthly segment producer during her time at KTSW. Wehring is passionate about the local reporter aspect. With a heart for storytelling, she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are most important to the community.

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