Durham, N.C. – Downtown Durham, Inc. is pleased to announce the selected artists and schedule for Public Space Project and Art About 2019 – two placemaking initiatives that will bring temporary, creative, free of charge experiences to downtown Durham through July 2020.
Art About installations, which are designed to be interactive, family-friendly and playful, will take place from 6-9 p.m. on October 18, 2019, April 17, 2020 and June 19, 2020, in conjunction with the Third Friday art walks. Public Space Projects are edgier, more thought-provoking installations, and will occur throughout the year as pop-up events.
“With the introduction of Art About this year, we are excited to increase the number of public space activations as well as the number of artists we are supporting,” said DDI Director of Special Projects Rachel Wexler, who is spearheading both Public Space Project and Art About. “Art About will be lots of fun and lets us offer accessible art for everyone, including children.
“Another new thing this year is that the Public Space Projects are being done on a pop-up basis, which gives us a chance to surprise and delight downtown visitors and allows the artists to incorporate up-to-the-minute current events into their installations. We’re leaving clues about when and where the installations will take place on social media using the hashtag #ddipublicspaceproject. We’re thrilled about the variety and quality of the art installations this year. I can’t wait for the public to see what the artists will create.”
The selected Art About artists and projects are:
Artist: Myra Weise
Title: Continuing to Tell
Date: October 18, 2019
Location: Civil rights mural adjacent to the Durham Arts Council
Description: Proxemic Media’s Myra Weise, choreographer Kristin Taylor, cellist Shana Tucker and a Durham-based visual artist present Continuing to Tell, a performance event inspired by the civil rights mural “We Must Remember and Continue to Tell” (painted on the building façade adjacent to the Durham Arts Council). The public can assist in the creation of a chalk ground mural extending from the original, and then enjoy a live music and dance performance that will bring this spirited mural to life.
Artists: Raven Gibbs and Kimberly Palmer
Title: Groove Therapy
Date: April 17, 2020
Location: CCB Plaza
Description: Mindfulness Movement partners with licensed therapists to provide a unique dance class that promotes emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration to women of color for the purpose of improving health and fitness while tackling the issue of self-care and mental health. We will present a one-and-a-half-hour dance class for the public in the middle of CCB Plaza that incorporates mindfulness training and yoga practices to tackle the issue of mental health and overall physical health. Dancing releases endorphins and improves overall health. Groove Therapy will get all of Durham moving.
Artist: LA Chesson
Title: Hydrochromic Mural
Date: June 19, 2020
Description: This project will bring hidden gems to the growing city by creating hydrochromic/ hydrothermal murals. When the sun is out, the city is alive and thriving. The murals will maintain the positive energy of the city by encouraging people to step out on rainy days and enjoy wonderful works of art.
The selected Public Space Project artists and projects are:
Artist: Candy Carver
Title: Paint Durham
Location: CCB Plaza
Description: Paint Durham is an art, music and cultural event established in 2014. This iteration will be a single day event, held in CCB Plaza. This Durham-centric event will encompass a pop-up screen printing station, city flag making area, music and a Durham inspired art installation. The goal of the event is to strengthen Durham residents’ connections to Durham through the arts.
Artist: Julia Gartrell
Title: The Radical Repair Shop
Description: The Radical Repair Workshop is a studio and repair shop on wheels, designed to challenge our notion of how (and why) we may fix something. The trailer will be parked in downtown Durham and will house a small workshop in which items will be collected, documented, and mended. The Radical Repair Workshop hopes to expand the idea of repair into conceptual space – does something need to “work” or return to its original state in order to be “fixed”? Gartrell will lead several informal workshops, and the project will accumulate a collection of mended items that will become part of a local gallery show and book.
Artist: Michelle Gonzalez-Green
Title: Call Your Ancestor
Description: Call Your Ancestor is temporary public art that includes a constructed telephone booth that will allow participants to enter the booth and “call” a dear departed ancestor who they wish they could speak to, but can no longer due to their passing. This work is inspired by the Japanese wind phone by Itaru Sasaki, who created the “wind phone” on his property after the Tsunami in Japan. Thousands of people have made pilgrimages to this booth to make calls to the missing in their families. Like the wind phone, it is intended as a one-way form of communication as a unifying and therapeutic outlet for grief. The goal is to show our community that in the end we are one human family, and our true legacy is in the memories we leave behind.
Artist: Kristi Stout, Bethany Bash and Nina Oteria
Title: The Corcoran Poetry Wall
Description: The Corcoran Poetry Wall will be a public installation of three different poems, all written by Durham residents, in the form of a mural. Each featured poet will also read at a celebratory open-mic (where the community is invited to share their poetry as well) and distribute small chapbooks of their work. Our hope is that the Corcoran Poetry Wall will serve as a re-introduction to poetry – an upending of the stuffy, elitist image that is often associated with it. The layman is alienated by the artform, perhaps because they have not been introduced to poems that reflect their narrative as a woman, as a person of color, as someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, or even as someone living in the 21st century. The Poetry Wall aims to bring Durham residents into contact with poetry written by their neighbors, in the hopes of changing the traditional perception of who poetry is for and what poetry can say.
For more information about Downtown Durham Public Space Project or Art About, visit downtowndurham.com. DDI will also post up-to-the-minute updates on social media (#ddipublicspaceproject, #ddiartabout).
For more than 25 years, Downtown Durham, Inc. has been the economic development engine for downtown Durham, NC. Downtown Durham is home to more than 55 retail stores, 120 restaurants and bars, and 4,000 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 downtowndurham.com.