Reflection on Dinner with Friends

Dinner with Friends connects artists to insights and each other


I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Molly Maguire’s in East Dallas Thursday night. Weeks before a friend mentioned Art House Dallas was putting on an event for musicians on marketing and self-promotion. That topic, along with the prospect of good food, was enough to get me in the door. After four hours of challenging presentations, stimulating conversation, and soul-restoring fellowship, I was sold. I felt like I’d finally found my people.

The dinner was the first of it’s kind. Art House Dallas launched the program series to engage and equip local artists in a variety of vocational interests. They began with a focus on the music community, and the response was impressive. The sold-out event hosted a variety of musical artists from songwriters to band members to beat builders. The combination of beginners, established artists, and industry pro’s proved a perfect formula.

Trey Bowles of Trivate Entertainment and Vannessa Warren from Butterfly Sparks were kind enough to stop by and share a wealth of information. They spoke authoritatively about understanding music as a business, provided insights into booking and management, stressed the importance of brand and story, encouraged the use of social media in online marketing, and reminded attendees to make good art and foster relationships with fans.

Following the presentations, tables were bussed, doors were opened, and even more area artists poured in to attend the no-cost Art House Exchange. I wound up in a lengthy conversation with a couple of musicians, one a singer/songwriter/band leader, the other a worship band member, about how aging churches maintaining cavernous facilities in transitional communities could team up with bands looking for venues outside of the traditional club circuit. Had the three of us stayed till midnight we were fully convinced we could have solved all the world’s ills.

That’s what Dinner with Friends offers area artists: the chance to connect with valuable insights from industry pro’s, and each other. The only surprise is how quickly the event achieved its aim, and then exceeded it.

No one wants to be alone. We’re all made for relationships. One could contend that creatives need even more chances to connect with their peers than those outside of the visual, performing, and literary arts. Navigating the grayish waters at the intersection of art and faith can be tricky, and it’s tough to go it alone. Art House Dallas’ intentional effort to cultivate community with outreach like Dinner with Friends is guaranteed to get results. 

Dialogue such as this may be happening at a hundred other places on a random Thursday night in Dallas, but if it is, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know what the next Art House Dallas event is going to be, but I am certain of this: I will be there, and I hope you will join me.

Joshua Seth Minatrea is a Dallas-area thinker and creative. His aim is to gain and give space, time and direction for creation. He has never been bored. Real books, espresso-based beverages and pocket-sized reporter Moleskines® are a few of his favorite things.