The Art of Hosting
Bringing a dinner party to life is similar to the creation of a play.
First you must must write the script. In this step you plan out the theme of dinner, the invite list, and the menu.
You next must create the set, in which you labor in the kitchen preparing the meal.
Then comes the staging, where the table is arranged, decorations are arranged and the lighting is perfected.
The actors take their place along the stage as soon as the first guest appears, and the conversation that flows throughout the evening is the dialogue from your script coming to life.
Anyone can serve food to guests, but a dinner party is truly an art form. It is a living work that must be planned, and executed with thought and craft, to transform what would otherwise be recognized as mundane (plates, silverware, etc) into something magical - where guests are at ease and entertained, and find themselves detached from the outside world, completely engaged in the moment.
To be a good host, one should provoke all of the senses: Food and drink alone can evoke all five, and the use of music and scents adds to the sensory stimulation.
Most importantly, the host must then be able to create conversation among their guests that moves past the trivial commentary on the weather. They should lead their guests into chatter that transforms from "how's your day going" into a conversation full of intrigue, laughter, and anything that stops your guests from realizing the speed in which time has been passing.
I may not be a painter, or a sculptor or an actor, but when I host my dinner parties, I know that I have created something to be enjoyed and admired, and in that moment I feel that I have become an artist.