Downtown Durham, Inc. Public Space Project

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Applications Due June 1

Currently accepting applications for summer/fall 2018


Downtown Durham, Inc. hosts unexpected and thought-provoking projects in downtown Durham’s public spaces. Downtown Durham, Inc. Public Space Project is an activation project focused on retaining and supporting the creative and artistic cultures of Durham and upholding public spaces of convergence. Collaborative, thought-provoking, and unifying rather than divisive work is encouraged. In particular, we encourage intrepidity and cross-disciplinary collaborations.

This pilot program provides grants to individuals and organizations who will bring temporary, creative, free of charge experiences to downtown Durham. This prompt is intentionally vague and open-ended for a couple reasons: This is a new initiative, and we wish for applicants and community members to drive the content and structure; we want to hear from installation artists, chefs, documentarians, performance artists, musicians, market organizers, poets, entrepreneurs and more.

Project Guidelines


Eligible project sites include: Alley 24, Alley 25/26, Holland Street Alley, Five Points Plaza, CCB Plaza. Other sites downtown may be proposed.

Date and time

Projects will occur or launch during Durham’s Third Friday events which are the third Friday of every month starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Depending on the proposed work, projects may last up to one month in duration.


DDI will fund 75% of project budget up to $2,000; applicants’ 25% contribution may be cash or in-kind contributions of time or materials. Eligible costs include fees for the creators/artists, installation and teardown, and as well as all costs related to the production and execution of the project.Entry must be free of charge, but vending may occur. 

Artist Role/Responsibilities

  • Provide written plan for a 3+ hour project that engages the public, is tailored to the site, and is in line with Downtown Durham, Inc. Public Space Project goals
  • Identify and hire any collaborators and/or sub-contractors; create/execute signed contracts with subs.
  • Working with DDI Staff, provide site plan, permits, and remuneration budget
  • Provide a W-9 to DDI 2 weeks before Project
  • Work with DDI staff and collaborators to determine day-of schedule, spatial plan, installation, and experiences
  • Provide plan to manage installation and teardown with timeframe (start/stop time)
  • Attend one to two meetings as required and requested by DDI to present ideas and progress
  • Provide narrative description of project to DDI for marketing and fundraising purposes
  • Attend the entire project and manage installation and teardown
  • Contribute to event summary discussion/report

Tentative Deliverables

  • Application including proposal and budget delivered at least 2 months prior to proposed Project date
  • Final proposal, budget, and site layout delivered at least 2 weeks prior to Project date
  • Collaborators and/or subcontractors procured
  • Various meetings with DDI staff (dates TBD)
  • Pre- and post-happening marketing materials

Downtown Durham, Inc. Roles

In addition to grant funding, DDI will support grantees by assisting with securing special event permits, spatial and property logistics, neighborhood buy-in, marketing, and promotion.

Review Criteria

  • Incomplete applications will not be considered 
  • Applicant(s) demonstrate ability and commitment to execute proposed project 
  • Impact: Projects can demonstrate impact a number of ways including the longevity of a project (ie. transforming a public space for up to a month), the potential for a project to influence perception or practice (ie. encouraging foot-traffic, forging new partnerships, engaging underserved populations, or supporting the local economy), or the ingenuity of a proposal, among others. 
  • Access: Access is defined as the perceived and real ability for any person to appreciate and engage in a project regardless of age, ability, political belief, economic status, race, sex, gender expression, religion etc.   
  • Proposed project is well-thought out and adheres to the mission of the Public Space Project:

Downtown Durham, Inc. Public Space Project is an activation project focused on retaining and supporting the creative and artistic cultures of Durham and upholding public spaces of convergence. Collaborative, thought-provoking, and unifying rather than divisive work is encouraged. In particular, we encourage intrepidity and cross-disciplinary collaborations. 

  • Proposed budget is reasonable and specific to the proposed project 
  • The review committee will seek to select a wide variety of projects 


Applications are due June 1st and are reviewed by a committee. Decisions will be made by June 15. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Priority will be given to applicants who live and/or work within the Durham city limits. Individuals and groups who represent historically marginalized populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • Resume and link to website, video, or portfolio (one per individual if applying as a group)
  • 500-word proposal describing the Project. Please refer to review criteria in writing project proposal Proposal should include how the event meets the Public Space Project mission, which public space(s) will be used, the time frame, the target audience(s), constraints of outdoor public space such as access, weather, and treatment of historic surfaces, etc.
  • Budget detailing all expenses requested in order to execute project. Requested funding must be specific to proposed project. If using funds beyond DDI contribution, include additional income in budget.
  • Indicate any and all dates for which you would like to be considered: July 20, August 17, September 21, October 19

Application materials are submitted by following this link.

Questions? E-mail


Are you or your organization interested in co-sponsoring a Public Space Project? Contact us at to discuss opportunities.


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The Fine Print

  • Applicant may cancel up to three weeks before Project date. DDI will not reimburse any dollar amount spent if applicant cancels Project.
  • DDI may cancel Project at any time if one or more of the following conditions exist:
    • The space is not usable due to external circumstances such as natural or other public emergency.
    • The actual project by grant recipient differs from the proposed and approved project proposal
    • Grant recipient violates any agreement with DDI
    • The Project is in violation of public laws or policies or is likely to cause damage to people or property
    • If DDI cancels the project because of any of the above reasons, DDI will not accept responsibility or liability for losses incurred by grant recipient or sub-contractors.
  • DDI will disburse funding amount on the day of the Project. Payment plan is adjustable upon request.
  • In case of inclement weather, projects will be moved indoors or rescheduled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicant retains the copyrights to the Project and may present the work again elsewhere. However, DDI retains the right to record/photograph any part of the project for archival, publicity, and fundraising purposes only