Downtown Durham Inc

DDI Announces Artists for Downtown Durham Public Space Project 2018

Durham, N.C. – Downtown Durham, Inc. is pleased to announce the selected artists and schedule for Public Space Project 2018 – a pilot initiative that will bring temporary, creative, free of charge experiences to downtown from August to October, 2018.

The art installations will take place on the third Friday of the month from 6-9 p.m. in tandem with Third Friday, with a goal of activating underused public spaces downtown, like Five Points Plaza and alleys between restaurants and retail spaces.

“The selected artists represent a wide variety of media and themes,” DDI Special Projects Coordinator, Rachel Wexler, who is spearheading PSP, said. “We chose four artists or artist teams from a very competitive field of 36 applications. We couldn’t have done it without the help of the selection committee, which was made up of six local arts and culture leaders. The artists and installations we selected are representative of Durham’s unique identities and cultures. We’re excited to help amplify the voices of our creative community.”

The selected artists and projects are:

Artists:         Wendy Spitzer and Douglas Vuncannon

Title:             Portraits in Common

Date:             August 17, rain date August 24

Location:       Five Points Alley (between Vert & Vogue and Area Modern)

Description: Wendy Spitzer, musician/composer/participatory art-maker, and Douglas Vuncannon, documentary photographer and musician, will pair visitors who do not know each other and ask them to find the most unusual thing they have in common. The subjects will then write their commonality on a board and pose together for a photograph. The artists will create a video of the photographs with an accompanying musical composition.

Artist:            Marcella Camara

Title:            Amethyst, Psalms & Florida Water

Date:             August 17, rain date August 24

Location:       Five Points Plaza

Description: Young, Gifted, and Broke, which builds spaces of afro-futurism, public health and cultural alchemy, will host a three-day pop up art show and wellness center. Over the course of the installation, community members will have 24-hour access to work by local artists; counselors, art therapists and body workers will host open office hours.

Artists:          Ashley Swindoll and Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins

Title:             The Instrumental Wax Project

Date:             September 21, rain date September 28

Location:       Holland St.

Description: Artist Ashley Swindoll and puppeteer Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins will create and animate a series of fantastical creatures with wire, archival beeswax and discarded musical instruments. The creatures will be suspended mid-air and illuminated as they undulate, crawl and float accompanied by a small orchestra.

Artist:            Kamara Thomas

Title:            Soapbox

Date:             October 19, rain date November 2

Location:       Starts at Five Points Plaza

Description: Artist and musician Kamara Thomas and a company of local actors and artists will stage performances from soapboxes – delivering orations, monologues and lively debates. Standing inside the circle of soapboxes will be a music ensemble and women’s chorus, who will periodically inject music, humming and visual effects into the actors’ performances.

DDI has provided up to $2,000 per project to cover a maximum of 75percent of the cost. The artists contribute the remaining 25 percent in cash, in-kind contributions or materials.

“The goal is to support local artists and to bring vitality to areas of downtown Durham,” Wexler said. “At the end of the year we’ll review the results of this pilot program and determine whether to repeat it in the future.”

For more information about Downtown Durham Public Space Project, visit or DDI will also post up-to-the-minute updates on social media (#ddipublicspaceproject).

For 25 years, Downtown Durham, Inc. has been the economic development engine for downtown Durham, NC. With more than $1.7 billion in investment since 2000, downtown Durham is home to more than 60 retail stores, 100 restaurants and bars, and 1,700 residential units – all in an area just under one square mile. As the entity responsible for the business improvement district, DDI provides resources to keep downtown Durham clean and safe, and to attract visitors and residents to downtown businesses, venues and events. For more information, visit


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