Thursday, December 14 was a special day for the Art and Advocacy class. The class took a trip down to Philadelphia to meet with the Bethesda Project staff and explore the renowned organization The Clay Studio in Old City.

It was a cold afternoon filled with wind gusts that chilled to the bones but we were excited as we climbed onto the train at Malvern Station. Everything was smooth and fine until the train made a stop at 30th Street Station. A loud crash was heard and the lights inside the train went out. Over the loudspeaker a voice said there was a problem with the electricity and we would be moving soon. We did not move soon. We ditched the train for a bus ride and eventually got to the Bethesda Project offices.

We were greeted by the CEO, Ms. Tina Pagotto, who was excited to share information and questions about the organization and about our work. Director of Development Mr. Jason Clark, Manager of Communications and Events Ms. Emmalee Eckstein, and Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager Ms. Sarah Erdo also joined us for the discussion. The meeting went so well we ended up spending over two hours sitting at around the table. We learned all about what the Bethesda Project does, we were able to explain our Cups for Caritas event, and we got some feedback and tips on fundraising and outreach. Lots of useful information was learned, and we thank the Bethesda Project staff for meeting with us.

We found former Empty Bowls chair Dom DiStefano’s pottery at the Bethesda Project headquarters.


The trip went on as we traveled to the Clay Studio. The Clay Studio is full of outstanding ceramics pieces and artists that astound the mind. We got to explore the multiple levels of the facility, meeting many artists and examining their work. The class was full of awe looking at all the meticulously-made gorgeous pieces, and learning about the behind-the-scenes processes of running a gallery and community studio center.

The class spent about an hour just walking around the gallery where everything was for sale and could be handled. No one bought anything, but we took many pictures for future project ideas.

Overall the trip was eye-opening. We got to learn about how our event’s donations are used, and about those who benefit from our cause Also, what ceramic artist doesn’t want to admire the work of the pros? We thank Ms. Plows for putting this entire trip together and Mr. Legner for joining us. We are grateful to the Bethesda Project and The Clay Studio, and look forward to future partnerships.


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