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Ann Williams serves a bowl of soup Saturday, March 9, 2013, during the Souper Bowl benefit at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. All-you-can-eat soup was available with a $15 purchase of a bowl. Proceeds benefited Family Christian Development Center. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Erin Miller looks for the perfect soup bowl Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. For $15, guests received a bowl made by NorthWood High School students and enjoyed all-you-can-eat soup from Culinary Mill, Nappanee Bakery and The Teapot. Proceeds benefited Family Christian Development Center. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Sophia Vincent, 7, of Nappanee, looks to her father while painting a quilt pattern beside her younger brother Benjamin, 5, on Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. Children aged 5-12 were able to craft their own quilt patterns, which will be on display at Coppes Commons until April 26. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Dana Parciak serves a bowl of soup Saturday, March 9, 2013, during the Souper Bowl benefit at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

David Vincent, standing at left, checks in on his four children, Benjamin, Sophia, Gabbi and Caleb, while they worked on their quilt pattern paintings during the Souper Bowl event Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Chad Dygert and Hannah Miers, both Elkhart Central students, work to restore one of 16 quilt pattern murals Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. The murals, originally painted by Jeff Stillson of Nappanee, will be put back on display at locations across Elkhart County once he and area high school students have finished the restoration. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

From left, Sydney Stronger, Melchizedek Roinson, Hayley Maggard and Ellie Hathaway work to restore a few of 16 quilt pattern murals Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. The murals, originally painted by Jeff Stillson of Nappanee, will be put back on display at locations across Elkhart County once he and area high school students have finished the restoration. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

A steady stream of guests occupied the Coppes Commons Upper Room during the Souper Bowl benefit Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Nappanee. All-you-can-eat soup from Culinary Mill, Nappanee Bakery and The Teapot was available with a $15 purchase of a bowl, and area high school students were on hand restoring 16 quilt murals to be returned to display throughout Elkhart County. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Bowls made by NorthWood High School students served as the cornerstone to the Second Saturday Souper Bowl event Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Coppes Commons in Nappanee. All-you-can-eat soup was available with a $15 purchase of a bow. Proceeds benefited the Family Christian Development Center. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)
Artistic talents come together for ‘Souper” good causes in Nappenee
Posted on March 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 9, 2013 at 3:49 p.m.

NAPPANEE — Ellie Hathaway knew in a second how she would spend her Saturday.

The Goshen High School sophomore was asked by her art teacher if she’d like to participate in the Elkhart County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau mural rehab program at Nappanee during Second Saturdays.

After five years, the county’s quilt murals used to promote the Quit Gardens needed some spiffing up and organizers were looking for art students to help repaint the murals.

Hathaway, who also enjoys cross country, and 15 other area students jumped at the chance.

“It’s so neat to see these things in the community and be part of it and not just observing it,” Hathaway said while working on a mural that can be seen outside of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce and happens to be along the practice course Hathaway uses for cross country.

“I can go, ‘Hey guys, look! I helped paint that,’” Hathaway said.

That’s exactly what Jeff Stillson was hoping to achieve.

Stillson, who originally painted all of the murals, helped organize the rehab project as part of Nappanee’s Second Saturday activities at the Coppes Commons Upper Room Saturday.

Students were provided with 50 gallons of different colored paints and they had to learn how to mix what was available to match the original colors used in the murals. Their work began at 8 a.m. and was expected to continue until late afternoon.

The murals are placed in various locations around the county, but are stored in the winter.

“A lot of these kids go through high school art and the only people who see the artwork are themselves and their family,” Stillson said. “This way, I can show them how you can actually make a living doing this type of thing. You can get your artwork in the community. It can be enjoyed by a lot of people and you can enjoy what you do.”

While students provided their talents for a county-wide cause, organizers in the room next door were benefiting the community with another artistic endeavor.

Pottery Bowls made by NorthWood High School students were part of the first ever Souper Bowl benefit for Family Christian Development Center.

For $15, visitors could get a bowl of soup and then take home the bowl. Three choices of soup — chili, chicken noodle and cheesy potato — were available, as were deserts, drinks and hot dogs.

Not knowing what to expect, organizers started the day with 200 bowls. One hour into the three hour event, they had about 50 bowls remaining.

“We may have to serve some soup in Styrofoam bowls, but that’s OK,” said Larry Andrews, marketing manager for Coppes who oversees Second Saturday activities at the historic Coppes Commons on Market Street.

The turnout was super enough that Andrews was confident the charitable effort will return next year.

“We have such a giving community,” he said. “People want to help each other.”

South of the dozens of tables set up for the Souper Bowl was an area reserved for kids to try their hand at painting miniature murals.

The event was free. Patterns and paint were provided and the top three entries from the day will receive cash prizes when winners are announced next month during the city’s annual Spring Into Art program.

Matt and Rachelle Himes, of Warsaw, were in town for other activities with their two children when 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, saw a sign promoting the children’s painting.

The program was a good change of pace.

“It was free and something to entertain them on a winter’s day,” Rachelle Himes said.