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Pottery, pastry join forces for PVCC's 'Bowls & Bunuelos' fundraiser

Piedmont Virginia Community College Pottery Club members have invited the community to enjoy a sweet, cinnamon-dusted fritter on Friday evening and keep the handcrafted bowl it’s served in for Saturday morning’s cereal.

The "Bowls & Buñuelos" fundraiser, set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday outside the college’s V. Earl Dickinson Building, will raise funds for Sin Barreras to help the local immigrant community.

Mexican-Appalachian fusion band Lua Project will be performing during the fundraiser.

Tom Clarkson, professor of art at PVCC, said that students have been creating functional pottery bowls all semester long on their own time for the annual fundraiser. On Friday, traditional Latin American treats baked by a community member will be individually packaged and placed in the bowls.

New this year will be bowls created by ceramicists from throughout the area. "We’re trying to reach out and include the whole clay community," Clarkson said.

Before the pandemic, the bowls came filled with hot soup. This time, expect to find buñuelos in the new vessel. Popular in Mexico, Spain, Latin America and as far afield as North Africa and the Philippines, buñuelos are pastries of sweetened dough that are lightly fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar. Plenty of regional variations abound that top them with syrup, flavor them with anise or fill them with figs, sweet potatoes or cheese.

Pottery Club members are applying their ceramics skills in a labor of love to combine practicality with artistic expression.

"People are exploring their imaginations and creativity," Clarkson said. "It has to be a functional bowl."

Clarkson recommends arriving promptly on Friday — and not just so you can enjoy Lua Project’s music. "Last year, we sold out in about half an hour," he said.

Sin Barreras works to educate and support the Hispanic community in Charlottesville and the surrounding area. It offers advocacy and legal services and presents workshops. multicultural health fairs and the annual Cville Sabroso cultural festival. Learn more at

The event is free. A suggested donation of $20 for each bowl and buñuelo will benefit Sin Barreras. Plenty of free parking is available in front of the building. Learn more at


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