Raleigh Now Spotlight: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner



Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
The United Arts Council plays matchmaker

by Katherine Poole
art courtesy United Arts Council

For three special evenings Nov. 2, – 4, hundreds of guests will gather in some of Raleigh’s most beautiful homes and event spaces to meet some of the state’s most talented artists, mingle with fellow patrons of the arts, and enjoy gourmet cuisine – all in support of arts education in Wake County.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is the signature event of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, a community organization that supports arts education. Since its debut in 2005, the event has raised over $1 million for its Artists in Schools program, which brings professional artists into Wake County schools to instruct and inspire through the arts. To date, 142 Wake County K – 12 public, private, and charter schools have benefited from 147,000 annual hours of programming supported by the group, including 407 art programs, 65 writer-in-residence sponsorships, 100 artist residency workshops, and 242 performances.

Artists in residence

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner patrons can select from 15 different thematic dinners over the three-night period. Dinner parties vary in size from to 14 to 75 guests and are held in intimate spaces that include an art-filled residence in West Raleigh, a boutique hotel in Durham, an urban event space near downtown Raleigh, and even the Executive Mansion with first lady Kristin Cooper.

So, just who is coming to dinner? That’s the best part. It’s a mystery. What the Arts Council can reveal is that it will be any one or more of the 22 visual artists, musicians, musical groups, writers, actors, dancers, or poets that have agreed to be set up on this one-of-a-kind blind date (listed below). These are unforgettable evenings, and well worth buying tickets for as soon as possible.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Blind-date artists

Paris Alexander, visual artist

Debra Austin, dancer

Bloomsbury Band, musicians

Jen Bereline, visual artist

Bloomsbury Band, musicians

Bob Chapman, opera singer

Georges Le Chavalier, visual artist

Jason Craighead, visual artist

Mimi Herman, poet

Kyle Highsmith, visual artist

Lauren Kennedy, actress

Joyce Watkins King, visual artist

Paul Loesel, musician

Emile Pandolfi, musician

Dwane Powell, visual artist

Yolanda Rabun, singer, actor

Chuck Ragsdale, actor

Bob Rankin, visual artist

Terry Rhodes, musician

Thomas Sayre, visual artist

Mary D. Williams, musician

Zoocrü, musicians

David Zucchino, writer