This semester I am taking a Public Art course. Throughout the semester, our class participates in four projects in which we create work or experiences that engage the citizens of Farmville, North Carolina to varying degrees. One of these projects, called Dinner For Two, involved us preparing a dinner with our instructor, Linda Adele Goodine. I then shared this dinner with Rudy Cobb, a well known figure of the Farmville community. In glass box. On Main Street.
Rudy and I share a meal, February 2, 2017
The experience was surreal and unforgettable. I cycled between giddy happiness and anxiety at being on display in what I can call my first performance piece. I learned about a stranger's life and the history of a small southern town over the course of an hour.
Rudy, accommodating to my assortment of questions, talked with me about the nature of art, his family and business, and the changes he's seen in Farmville throughout the years from the Civil Right era to now.
I cannot say for sure how impacted anyone else was by this hour long event on a quiet Thursday night in February. However, I cannot help but wonder if it caused a bit of a stir or was topic of discussion among those that stopped by to watch, waved to us as we ate our meal, and slowed down their cars to catch a glimpse of what was going on. In a time that seems increasingly divisive, perhaps a shared meal between strangers can serve as a small representation of hope and compassion.