This past September, Creative Capital announced the Dinners Project, a platform for artists and communities around the country to host potluck-style gatherings in locations across the United States from October 4 to 7, 2018 to ensure artists’ voices are an active part of civic discourse leading up to the midterm elections. Fourteen Creative Capital Awardees of various artistic backgrounds plan to host dinners in their respective cities as part of this series. Last night in Los Angeles Creative Capital artist Kristina Wong held her dinner in Clayton Campbell’s studio at the 18th Street Arts Center, which produced the event for Kristina. About 25 persons attended the potluck, and sat down around 6:30 as the sun set and the Supreme Court news of the day was filtering in, exhausting everyone. Still, this was the perfect time to break bread with a group of thinkers, educators, artists and creators who care deeply enough about what is going in their community, state, federal government and upcoming elections to spend an evening with strangers and have a conversation. One big take away from the evening was simply finding comfort in not being alone with the stress of emotions from the past two weeks of Supreme Court hearings.
The purpose of “the Dinners Project is part of For Freedoms’50 State Initiative, designed to encourage nuanced artistic thinking and organizing in politics nationwide. Creative Capital is contributing to the initiative with the dinner model by facilitating local conversations and connecting them to an ongoing national dialogue, furthering its commitment to supporting artists and their communities.” I saw the official packet of questions for the evening sent to Kristina, and the comments were “this looks like it was written by a consultant.” It contained general topics to warm up the dinner party participants generally about art and civic engagement, what art has inspired you, things like that. But then it veered off into professional development questions about what sustains artists practices, completing surveys, and enough material to sustain a six hour banquet, never mind the 2 1/2 hour pot luck dinner we had signed up for with a more relaxed atmosphere in mind. The academic veneer was jettisoned, Kristina forged ahead with the questions that mean something to her and it was a great evening. A handful of significant questions were asked as the dinner guests sat at different tables and spoke among themselves, then responding to the entire group with one person reporting back. The content is too varied to report here, but may come out eventually on these web sites or Creative Capital, so keep checking: