I love it when artists give back to others less fortunate. That’s why one of this week’s featured events is the Empty Bowls Meal at Cone 10 studios.

Twenty-five local potters from around the area are creating bowls for the meal that will benefit Crisis Ministries.

And the chef is the well-known Celia Cerasoli, formerly of Celia’s Porta Via, a longtime favorite Italian hangout in Charleston.

She will be assisted by Fiorenzo Berardozzi, who has designed and made tableware for McCrady’s and Husk restaurants.

Empty Bowls is an international grass-roots effort to fight hunger that has been used to raise money in communities across the United States (www.emptybowls.net).

According to Mayor Joe Riley’s office, Charleston has reported a 5 percent increase in requests for emergency food aid in the past year. Thirty-two percent of those requests came from families in need, so this is a timely event.

Guests of the meal will take home their bowl to remind them of how they have helped others. Tickets for the event are $38.

The event will be 6-8 p.m. Friday at Cone 10 studios, 180 Morrison Drive. In case you’ve never been to the studio, you are likely to get a chance to see just how bowls are made. To purchase tickets, call 853-3345.

Historic characters

This week, two productions give a look inside historic characters, and yet both plays have so much to say about today’s society.

The first is “The Whipping Man” by Matthew Lopez presented by the Village Repertory Co. at the Woolfe Street Playhouse on Friday.

The play opens with Passover, 1865. The Civil War has just ended and the annual celebration of freedom from bondage is being observed in Jewish homes across the country.

One of these homes, belonging to the DeLeons of Virginia, sits in ruins. Confederate officer Caleb DeLeon has returned from the war to find his family missing and only two former slaves remaining. Caleb is badly wounded and the two men, Simon and John, are forced to care for him.

As the three men wait for the family’s return, they wrestle with their shared past as master and slave, digging up long-buried family secrets along the way as well as new ones. Slavery and war, they dis- cover, warp even good men’s souls.

The play asks powerful questions about faith, family and freedom, and with the recent writings about Jews during the Civil War, it should be an eye-opening experience.

Directed by Keely Enright, the play features Michael Burgess, Young Stowe and Andre Hinds.

It opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at 34 Woolfe St. and runs through March 16. Tickets are $20-$30 and can be purchased at woolfestreetplayhouse.com.

‘Parhelia’ workshop

Pure Theatre is staging a workshop of the new play “Parhelia” by Arlene Hutton, whose work has been produced off- and off-off-Broadway and at theaters across the United States, in London, and Edinburgh.

Hutton was inspired by Anton Chekov’s “Three Sisters” but has focused instead on the Bronte sisters and their lives outside their literary fame.

In the play, the Bronte siblings have a craving for intellectual pursuits. Charlotte, Emily and Anne are young women who struggle to find meaning in the life they’ve been given.

Bonded, and with their ingenious but unstable brother Branwell, the siblings face the agony of love, loss, rejection and hope.

“Parhelia” is a five-year exploration of the volatile lives of the sisters, who today are recognized as some of the most evocative authors to contribute to classic literature.

“Parhelia” will play Feb. 26-March 10. Tickets can be found at www.puretheatre.org or via phone at 723-4444.

The box office is at 477 King St.

Soul Food

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is screening Byron Hurt’s provocative “Soul Food Junkies” at noon Saturday during the Black History Month program, “Slavery to Freedom: A Testament of Time.”

This new film promises to highlight a conversation about the role soul food plays in African-American culture and issues of health and food disparity in communities of color.

Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, will present at 10 a.m.

Other events and talks for Black History Month are scheduled Saturday. For more details, go to www.magnolia plantation.com.

Youth Art Contest

In another way art informs our culture, elementary, middle and high schools have a chance to participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 17.

Started in 2006 by the Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s rarest plant and animal species.

The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through art.

Young artists who are home schooled and participate in youth groups also are eligible to submit their art.

This year, contest finalists will be judged by a panel of artists, photographers and conservationists, including Wyland, renowned marine life artist; Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s “Into the Wild”; David Littschwager, a freelance photographer and contributor to National Geographic Magazine; Susan Middletown, a photographer who has collaborated with Littschwager and whose work has been published in four books; and Alice Tangerini, botanical illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution.

The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) will select the 40 semifinalists.

Winners will be chosen in four categories: K-grade 2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, in addition to a grand prize winner who will receive a trophy and an all-expense trip to Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian.

Entries must be postmarked by March 15.

For more information, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.