Meet Kate Pauley

Photographer and founder of Create Dinners

Meet Kate Pauley - illustration 1

Portrait of Kate Pauley © Katie Marble

Texas-born Brooklynite Kate Pauley wears many hats. As the founder of the event-planning service Create Dinners, Kate is an expert in creative direction, digital marketing, photography and food. Gather round the perfectly-garnished table and join Artsper in discovering the founder's inspiration and dream dinner guest.

1. Hello Kate! How did you come into such an enviable career? Can you share a bit of your backstory?

I grew up in Dallas, TX where there was no shortage of southern hospitality. I have always loved food and gathering with others for various occasions. Celebrations and making people feel loved through details and events was something my parents and their community were really exceptional at, so there's no question about where my love for all of this comes from.

Professionally, I worked at a marketing agency for nearly a decade producing photoshoots, styling, and art directing, and that's where I learned a lot of my hard skills.

I got to do some really cool projects in my career there, but it was rare that I felt fulfilled on a soul-level, so on a whim back in 2016 I pitched an idea to a small group of creative friends with different skill sets asking if they wanted to produce a beautiful dinner event that would give us all content for our social pages and websites. I wrote some conversation questions for us to answer while we ate, documented the night with my camera, and the rest is history. We have now done over 60 events across NY, CA, RI, and VT.

2. Can you speak to the importance of art in your work?

It plays a huge role! It's typically the creative foundation for any event that we put on, though some are more direct than others in how that manifests. My inspiration almost always comes from art and design and might influence the color palette, the tablescape, setting… It works its way everywhere.

Meet Kate Pauley - illustration 1
Meet Kate Pauley - illustration 1

Create Dinners events, on the left: "Dinner 16" © Kate Pauley, on the right: "Sourdough pop-up dinner" © Eloise Patterson

3. You're a Texas native, but based on the East Coast. How have each of these settings inspired your work?

I'm a relative newcomer to the East, but I've honestly never felt more at home! It's really the people for me here that are the inspiration - the Create Dinners community has really flourished on the East Coast, and my community is a huge source of inspiration, so it's very self-fulfilling, which is amazing. That said, I'll always have Texas in my blood! The hospitality there is unlike anywhere else - it's so personal and that's something I always try to keep with me and is the heart of what I do.

4. Aside from photography, what artistic medium are you most drawn to? What artists are you currently inspired by?

I love this! I'd have to say painting, it's so rich and layered and can be so deeply personal and revealing. Most recently, I've really been diving into Hilma af Klint - she's unreal, especially given how ahead of her time she was.

5. What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring photographer or creative director?

It's a process, be patient and just keep on pushing forward, letting your experiences shape your work. I spent many years working at a large agency, and while that's the last thing many young creatives might want to do, it was an amazing experience and I learned so much about working at a high level.

Meet Kate Pauley - illustration 1
Meet Kate Pauley - illustration 1

Create Dinners events, on the left: "NYC Dinner" © Leandra Creative Co., on the right: "Sourdough pop-up dinner" © Eloise Patterson

6. What does your dream dinner party look like? The setting, the food, the artwork, the guests?

If I ever got the opportunity to do something with or at the Noguchi Museum, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. It's one of my favorite places in the city and I'm always so inspired when I'm there. I'd love to feature a female sushi chef and do sake pairings. Guests would be diverse artists ready to dive deep into conversation.

7. Finally, do you have any upcoming projects that you're particularly excited about?

I'm obviously very excited about our Artsper x Spoak dinner happening during the holidays! The mood board that I put together for this event is one of my favorite ones – it's playful, but sophisticated and really feels like a marriage of the two brands with some Create Dinners sprinkled in there. I'm also really looking forward to our pop-up Holiday Market with Blank Studio, Little Shoppe, Big Impact. Guests will be able to come shop stylish and unique small and local brands to find beautiful gifts, all while supporting City Harvest to combat food waste and serve New York's growing hungry population. Hope to see you all there!

Their favorite artworks

Grande Natura Morta Circolare con Bottiglia e Tre Oggetti, Giorgio Morandi

Grande Natura Morta Circolare con Bottiglia e Tre Oggetti

Giorgio Morandi

Print - 13.8 x 20.5 x 0.1 inch


Enée sauvant Anchise, André Masson

Enée sauvant Anchise

André Masson

Fine Art Drawings - 19.5 x 12.1 x 0.1 inch


Rainbow: Thelonious Monk, Devil at the Keyboard, Willem de Kooning

Rainbow: Thelonious Monk, Devil at the Keyboard

Willem de Kooning

Print - 35.5 x 24.5 inch