[image-2] The brainchild of local artist, quilter, and arts activist Torreah “Cookie” Washington, A Dialogue in Black and White heads to the City Gallery during this year’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival. The art exhibit, dinner, and community conversation features work from 64 artists, partnered together as duos creating works based on the same theme. The dinners (and one brunch), catered by Mercantile and Mash’s Tim Morton, will be held on Thurs. May 24, Thurs. May 31, Thurs. June 7, and Sun. June 10. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online.

To say that Washington is excited about this show — over a year in the making — would be an understatement. “You have this dream and you put it out there, if even part of any of the vision comes back, then it’s great.” Needless to say, Washington thinks she’s gotten a lot more than just “parts.” “One artist’s statement made me cry. I thought, ‘You totally got the concept!'”

“I told the artists, don’t play small and don’t play nice,” says Washington. “I’ve seen the Mona Lisa, it’s a great piece of art. That’s pretty much all you can say, it’s a nice picture of a lady. This art [in ‘A Dialogue in Black and White’] is designed to make you think.”

If you can’t make it to any of the dinners, then head to the gallery during the day, May 25-June 10 to check it out. And if you and a pal do head to one of the dinners (which we highly recommend) don’t expect to sit next to them — in order to ensure the most engaging dialogue, diners will be seated at random.