'Soup'er benefit for county arts programs

The Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA) will be feeding both body and mind at its annual benefit next week. The council's fifth annual Feed the Arts Soup Benefit will be held Thursday, March 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Activity Center in downtown St. Marys, with all proceeds benefiting ECCOTA and its arts programming in Elk County. ECCOTA Board Member and Feed the Arts planning committee chair Lois Devilling said the funds will be used to run the council's gallery, which serves as both a gathering point and a display area for the county's artisans, as well as to continue sponsoring community arts events and programs for both youth and adults. "The whole idea is to raise funds to help keep our gallery alive and work with the artists and help with all the programs we sponsor and organizations we contribute to and help," Devilling said. The event will offer tastings of over 20 soups, all donated by area eateries and private kitchens, as well as bread and desserts. There will also be live music, a silent auction and a 50/50. Devilling said a new feature this year is an artisan's market that will offer for purchase handmade jewelry and other items created by local artisans and craftspeople. "We're kind of excited about this because it's the first time we've done this," she said. Guests attending the fundraiser will also receive a wooden spoon, with the engraving courtesy of Elkwood Arts, to commemorate the event. Members of Devilling's planning committee, or "soupies," said the event continues to attract new patrons and each year features delicious new varieties of soup. Some of the most popular soups in years past have been buffalo chicken wing, spaetzel and peach soup.