Empty Bowls, the Arkansas Foodbank’s signature event, is scheduled for this Thursday, April 23, at Next Level Events in Little Rock. THV 11's Tom Brannon will get the party started at 5:30 p.m. Guests will be treated to an extensive menu featuring some of their favorite central Arkansas eateries, and then will browse the extensive art auction complete with paintings, drawings, pottery and more.

But this year, the night doesn’t end with Empty Bowls is over. Once the live auction ends at 7:30 p.m., that’s when Full Glasses begins. Food, drinks and live music will keep the celebration going under the stars. 

We got a chance to chat with this year's co-chairs, Anton and Jillian Janik, and they answered our  questions about Empty Bowls. Here's what they had to say. 

What was it about Arkansas Foodbank specifically that drew you to its cause? How did two lawyers get involved with feeding the hungry?

Anton: Jillian and I have long believed that one of the most caring things we can do for others is to feed them, and here in Arkansas, there is such a huge need for it. I began working with the Foodbank in 2009, when I joined Harvesters, the Foodbank’s young professionals group. After rising to president of that group, I joined the Foodbank’s Board of Directors, where I have sat since 2012. This is the most rewarding community activity I am involved in.

Empty Bowls will start off with a dinner at Next Level Events in the Historic Train Station. What kind of atmosphere, and maybe more importantly to some, what kind of food should attendees expect?

Jillian: The atmosphere is a great, classy cocktail party, with terrific (and heavy) appetizers. We can’t wait to dive in to all of the amazing, yummy, delicious food being prepared by 19 of the very best Arkansas restaurants, including the Clinton Presidential center, Green Cuisine, Good Food by Ferneau, Local Lime, One Eleven at the Capital, The Pantry, Trio’s, Whole Hog, and YaYa’s Euro Bistro.

There will also be an art auction, featuring works by local artists. Who are some of your most noteworthy Little Rock artists that Soirée readers could also check out?

Anton: We are so very excited to include works by Matt Coburn, VL Cox, John Deering, Jane F. Hankins, Jane Lovett Holt, and Carole Katchen among many others. From sculptures to different types of paintings there will be several items auctioned off that will all go for a good cause. Every dollar raised provides 4 meals to Arkansans in need.

This year adds a third and new feature - Full Glasses, an afterparty included in the ticket price. What exactly will be happening there?

Anton: It’s included in the $75 ticket price, but if you want to come to the afterparty only, tickets for that portion can be separately purchased for $35. The afterparty takes place on the deck and in a large tent just outside the main venue. There will be live music by Rodney Block and The Real Music Lovers, great appetizers from Heights Taco & Tamale Company, and a wine pull where guests can spend $25 and receive a bottle of wine valued at $25 or greater.

Jillian: It is a great way to try a terrific new wine, and the afterparty will have a fun, party atmosphere.

Arkansas Foodbank has its own garden at its headquarters. Do you have any gardening tips for those of us with some backyards soggy from the recent wet weather?

Jillian: Anton has spent a lot of time in the Foodbank’s garden working alongside Trent Roberts! He says that you need to let the ground dry out a bit, but don’t be afraid of a little wet.

Anton: That’s why they created mud boots. Get out there and get planting! Your summer tomatoes are counting on you!

Tickets are on sale now and available here. Your Empty Bowls ticket will automatically get you into Full Glasses, or you can buy tickets just for the after party. For more information on the Arkansas Foodbank and Empty Bowls, click here.