Published: October 06, 2009
Taking a nod from chef Julia Child, UT art students and faculty are
helping bring about social change with the launch of Operation Bon
With a mission to stimulate people into action for
social change, Operation Bon Appétit will kick off its first White House
State Dinners’ Art Installation at Whole Foods Market, 1548 N. Dale
Mabry Highway, on Oct. 9 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Keeping with a CIA
theme (Cultural Innovations Agency, a humorous take on Julia Child’s
history working for the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming a
chef), the gatherings, called White House State Dinners, are a mix of
art, good food and inspired conversation.
The seven art
installations created by UT faculty and students reflect interpretations
of Operation Bon Appétit themes, such as New Economy: Coin of the Realm
Where Everyone Counts; Mi Casa Su Casa: Inclusive Family Values; and
Being a “C” Student: Competent, Caring and Carefree: Public Education
“Even though this was started with topics given to
us, it’s just a starting point,” said Jeffrey Gibbons ’10, who is
creating an abundant table with wire fencing around it, preventing
access. The piece follows the theme Inequity Does Exist.
pieces we are coming out with should lead to further digging into
various other topics and interpretations,” Gibbons said. UT art faculty
Santiago Echeverry and Kendra Frorup and UT art students Hannah Hudson,
Jacob Greatens, Barbara Stubbs, Richard Smith, Christopher Hurtig, Lisa
Harasiuk, Will Stryffeler, Hilary King and Dominic Santoro are
participating as well.
UT adjunct professor Jan Roberts, founder
of Operation Bon Appétit, said the ethical framework for the movement
is built on Earth Charter U.S., which she founded, and which is an
international peoples’ agreement for a sustainable future and its
principles for economic and social equity, respect for nature and a
culture of peace.
“It’s a grassroots approach to people and
planet well-being through conviviality,” said Roberts, and of the art,
“It’s cutting edge stuff.”
Discussion questions will be offered
to stimulate conversation, and Whole Foods is providing food and wine.
While the White House State Dinners are making their debut with a formal
art installation, Roberts said the program can be brought into any
living room through smaller, more casual dinners using guidelines on the
program’s Web site,
feel art is a conduit for mainstream social change,” said Roberts, who
sees the project growing here in Tampa (they have an IKEA exhibit
planned for 2010) and then nationally.
UT student Hannah Hudson
plans to set a formal dinner table with her grandmother’s fine china,
however she is arranging it on the floor.
“It’s about access,”
Hudson ’10 said. “When everyone has to bend down to get their food and
bring it up to eat, it puts everyone on the same level. It’s about
Tickets are available at Whole Foods for $5 with
proceeds benefitting UT Art Department’s scholarship fund and the Earth
Charter. For more information, go to
or call (813) 254-8454.