On March 7th, Union Market had AOK for a Thursday Night Dinner. The dinner included a private viewing of District Dodger’s new exhibit “IN REAL LIFE.”

The exhibit was “a visual observation of the relationship between the digital and the physical.” The installation “explores the paradox that both [the digital and physical] are conflicting realities in which we exist simultaneously.” As artists, we enjoyed having the opportunity to be surrounded by art while at the dinner table. During every Thursday night dinner, we are encouraged to put our phones away while at the table. It was interesting to engage with an exhibition that explores the relationship between the digital and the physical – particularly because we all have experienced the benefit of disconnecting from our phones to reconnect with one another around the table.

The table was large and held about 30 people. As we went around the table everyone shared their relationship to art and many noted how great it was to be seated at a table surrounded by so many artists and people that appreciated art.

In addition to the AOK community and members of Union Market, we were also joined by Speech from Arrested Development. Speech shared his moving experience of working with a group of incarcerated people in Richmond, Virginia through a rehabilitative program. He worked with the group to write and record music as a form of rehabilitation. The journey is captured in a documentary entitled 16 Bars. We were reminded of the healing power of art and the ways that it can be utilized for social change.

In many ways, the Union Market Thursday Night Dinner was an enriching experience. The night was filled with laughter and ended in true AOK fashion, with an impromptu fashion show. We were reminded of the transformative and uplifting power of art – and felt inspired to continue our own artistic journeys. No matter where we have dinner, the table is always a captivating expression of art and community. Thank you to Ally and everyone at Union Market for making this evening a reality!