From Irvington to Old Northside!
In my neck of the woods we define “neighbor” rather loosely as “anyone else who lives in Irvington or thereabouts.” So we invited an assortment of folks, some from just around the corner and some from further afield.
We gathered around our table for a convivial evening. I made a simple minestrone and bought some locally made focaccia and cheese; guests brought wine, salad, and desserts (truly mouthwatering desserts!). But the tasty, nourishing meal was really just an excuse for conversation and connection.
Some of us had never met each other, and others had known each other a long time. Ages ranged from 1 year old to “I’ll never tell.” It was great to have a chance to sit down together and relax on a Sunday night.
Life gets so busy that it seems hard to find the time for socializing. In our neighborhood we have often connected with others around shared projects. What a nice change of pace to connect over a meal instead of at a meeting or work party. Bonus: our house is cleaner than it has been in a while!
Sunday night dinner in the City Gallery?
I thought it might be a hard sell. Most of the artists in this building already spend enough time here, why would they want to come back on a Sunday evening? It turns out we all wanted to come back to have dinner together, to spend time together outside of the studios and in a space where we welcomed other friends in the community as well. There is a different feeling in the building these days. It used to be that it was a building of studios, and there were some artists that rented the spaces and occasionally showed work. Sometimes on a First Friday you would get a glimpse of their significant other or children if they have them or you would get to meet their studio pet, but often times the artists are in their studios and don't really get a chance to walk around and mingle. Before you know it the night is over. Recently there has been a shift in the building. I can't really put a finger on it...maybe it's the group of people who are in the spaces now or maybe it's the neighborhood or maybe we are all just growing up a little.
Our City Supper started out as another event we were inviting the artists in the building to come to, but halfway through dinner I started to see things from a different perspective. We aren't just artists who rent space in the building or spouses and children who come to dinners when there is an invitation...we are a community of people who enjoy being together. We don't get together just to talk about art or everything art related. We spent most of our dinner talking about anything other than art. We celebrated and encouraged new marriage and listened to stories of lasting marriages and how to make it work with in-laws. We pooled all of our parenting skills and laughed at each other for some of our epic failures and encouraged each other for some of our current challenges! We listened to stories of health scares and having a really crappy couple of weeks, but holding on in hopes of being able to see the finish line at the end of a really tough race. We spent the evening with friends who will be leaving us soon as they move away on a call to Australia, so we celebrated.
We laughed as we watched our children share the same kind of community while they played, wondering if they know how lucky they are to be in a community like the Harrison Center.