Downtown Durham Inc

Downtown Durham, Inc. Launches Public Space Project Online and Announces Season 3 Awardees

Durham, N.C. – Downtown Durham, Inc. will launch the third season of the Public Space Project with a three-week series of online events held at 1 p.m. on Thursdays, April 9 – 23. Dubbed PSP Online, the events will provide a virtual, lunch-time ‘taste’ of Public Space Projects to come.

“We want everyone to remain safe and well at home,” Nicole J. Thompson, DDI President and CEO said. “With PSP Online, we will provide a virtual way for people to interact with art and artists. This benefits all of us who are missing the vibrant art scene downtown and helps to support the creators in our community when the doors of many creative spaces have been temporarily closed. We want everyone to join us for the next three weeks, and we may even have a surprise fourth PSP Online event. Stay tuned.”

The PSP Online schedule includes:

  • Thursday, April 9 – The Cabinet of Wishes
    • Participants can submit wishes throughout next week. On Thursday, Chris Vitiello (aka the Poetry Fox) will post poetic responses to up to 25 wishes.
  • Thursday, April 16 – Mindful Movement Dance Class
    • Raven Gibbs leads a mindful dance class that promotes emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration to improve physical health and fitness while promoting self-care and mental health.
  • Thursday, April 23 – Warli Painting 101
    • Sampada Agarwal will live-stream a workshop on Warli painting, an indigenous art form from Western India that uses minimalistic forms and vibrant patterns to reflect everyday lives and events.

Visit or follow @DowntownDurham for more information about PSP Online.

Rachel Wexler, DDI Director of Special Projects, is the engine behind Public Space Project, which provides grants to individuals and organizations who bring creative free-of-charge experiences to downtown Durham.

“PSP Online is just a small sample of Public Space Project Season 3,” Wexler said. “We have awarded grants of $3,000 – $5,000 to local artists to fund seven exciting new projects. Once it is safe to do so, we plan to welcome the community back downtown with some truly delightful and thoughtful PSP projects.”

The selected artists and projects for Public Space Project Season 3 are:

Title:             Durham Warli Mural

Artists:          Ramya S. Kapadia and Sampada Agarwal

Artists’ Description of the Project:  “This project seeks to involve members of the Durham community in the co-creation of a massive mural in the style of Warli – an indigenous art form from Western India that uses minimalistic forms and vibrant patterns to reflect everyday lives and events. We will involve participants in a mural that will capture the dynamic nature of Durham’s history as told by its people – from our rural tobacco-growing past, to our vibrant urban present.”

Title:             The Worry Cabinet

Artist:            Chris Vitiello

Artist’s Description of the Project: “Write your worry on a card and put it into the Worry Cabinet – an antique armoire that’s equal parts confessional and fortuneteller – and the cabinet returns your worry with a poetic response that reassures, informs, challenges, or inspires. It’s an intimate, safe space to express inner thoughts without shame or judgment and to receive an actionable response from the beyond.”

Title:             Symphony for 100 Toy Keyboards

Artists:          Will Hackney and BJ Warshaw

Artists’ Description of the Project: “Symphony for 100 Toy Keyboards is a non-traditional musical composition to be performed by a large gathering of community members – musicians and non-musicians alike. By using toy instruments normally reserved for kids, the ‘Symphony’ will provide a truly accessible means for the Durham community to share in the raw beauty of collective music-making. Recommended if you like: flash mobs, Casios, 20th century minimalism, or children’s toys.”

Title:             Pan-African Beats

Artists:          Blackspace

Artists’ Description of the Project: “Pan-African Beats is a celebration of African people and their journey in music. Bridging the ancient traditions of West African drumming and tracing that lineage to the Americas through hip-hop, this performance will feature an intergenerational group of drummers, dancers, DJs and live beat makers. Join us on a journey to tell the story of Black music in the heart of historic Black Wall Street.”

Title:             Dancing in the Streets

Artists:          Durham Independent Dance Artists

Artists’ Description of the Project: “In collaboration with DJs, dancers, other local arts organizers, and local businesses, DIDA will generate a series of free dance parties in downtown Durham. The collaborative hopes to create delight, draw attention to the ephemeral moment, and open up possibilities for an embodied difference in our communal life. Life is hard and art is vital; let’s make connection easier.”

Title:             Bull City Sound Garden

Artist:            Jaguar Perry

Artist’s Description of the Project: “The Bull City Sound Garden is an outdoor musical instrument that will encourage community gathering and engagement. It will consist of a large instrument specifically designed to create meditative and healing sound waves. The goal is to create a gathering space that promotes cross-community interactions and bonds throughout the city.“

Title:             Walk this Way: Reconnecting Hayti to the Heart of Durham

Artists:          Derrick Beasley and Monét Noelle Marshall

Artists’ Description of the Project: “Walk this Way will reconnect the Hayti Heritage Center to the heart of Durham with a route that will include public art, greenery and markers with historical facts about the Hayti District and Black Wall Street. The route will encourage residents to walk or bike to and from Hayti by creating a safe and welcoming space and helping to foster a healthier, eco-friendly community. Local artists will create engaging public art along the way.”

With the Season 3 PSP artists named, the portal has opened for applications for Season 4. Visit to learn more about Season 3 projects and artists or to apply for a Season 4 grant.


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

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