Braille Institute Students Give Back With Empty Bowls


Caption: Braille Institute Santa Barbara students created ceramic bowls, contributing to the success of the Empty Bowls Santa Barbara event, which benefitted Foodbank of Santa Barbara.



A major joy of participating in the beloved Empty Bowls Santa Barbara event is getting to pick out and take home a beautiful bowl handcrafted by a local ceramic artist. This year, several participants at Empty Bowls chose to take home a bowl made by blind and low-vision students at Braille Institute Santa Barbara.


“Vision loss does not exclude people from creating beautiful art, nor from participating in the community,” said Michael Lazarovits, Braille Institute Santa Barbara Executive Director.  “Our students gain confidence as they work independently and as a team. Students create their own art pieces using different materials and for Empty Bowls Santa Barbara, it was by hand building and wheel throwing, glazing and finishing clay.”


The free programs from Braille Institute help restore self-confidence and enable people who are blind or visually impaired learn new ways to do the things they love.


“It feels good when you make something for someone else who will use it,” said Robert Ybarra, a student in the ceramics class. “There’s no limit to what you can do.”


Braille holds free classes year-round with sessions in fall, winter, spring and summer. Class schedules are available at To get more information about registering for classes or to get a Braille Institute student referral form, please contact Phillis Castagna at (805) 682-6222-8302. For more information, visit



Braille Institute Santa Barbara ceramics students Barbara Helton and Robin Wolfe make freeform sculptures.


About Braille Institute

Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss.  It serves tens of thousands of people of all ages each year through a broad range of educational, social and recreational programs and services designed to help people of all ages with vision loss lead enriched and fulfilling lives.  Funded entirely by private donations, all services are completely free-of-charge. Braille Institute Santa Barbara is online at, on Facebook (BrailleInstitute) and Twitter (@BrailleInst).

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