Public Space Project 2019 Information & Application

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Accepting Applications for 2019-2020

Applications due June 28


Aceptando ahora solicitudes para el 2019-2020.

El plazo para entregar solicitudes vence el 28 de junio.



Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) hosts intrepid and thought-provoking projects that push the envelope. The 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.

This program provides grants to individuals and organizations who will bring unifying, creative, free of charge experiences to downtown Durham public spaces. We want to hear audacious ideas from chefs, documentarians, muralists, performance artist, musicians, florists, installation artists, market organizers, poets, entrepreneurs etc.

De que se trata

Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) presenta proyectos intrépidos y estimulantes que transciendan. El Public Space Project (Proyecto de Espacio Público) es un proyecto de activación centrado en retener y apoyar las culturas creativas y artísticas de Durham y defender los espacios públicos de convergencia.

Este programa proporciona subvenciones a individuos y organizaciones que aportarán experiencias unificadoras, creativas y gratuitas a los espacios públicos del centro de Durham. Queremos escuchar ideas audaces de chefs, documentalistas, muralistas, artistas de performance, músicos, floristas, artistas de instalaciones, organizadores de mercados, poetas, empresarios, etc.


Important Dates

  • June 28, 2019 Applications due
  • July 10, 2019 Grantees notified of acceptance
  • June 30, 2020 All granted projects completed

Grantees will work with DDI staff to determine the best dates and times to execute projects.


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. Funding may not cover food or alcohol.

Entry must be free of charge, but vending may occur at sole liability of applicant and with all necessary permits/licenses.


Applicants who live and/or work in Durham County and are over 18 years of age are eligible to apply. We strongly encourage individuals who represent historically marginalized populations to apply.

Pre-Application Office Hours

June 3    8 - 9 a.m. Beyu Caffe

June 6    12 noon - 1 p.m. The Durham Hotel cafe

June 11   6 - 7 p.m. Cocoa Cinnamon (Geer St.)


Submit applications through the online portal linked below.

  • Incomplete applications will not be considered
  • The review committee will seek to select a wide variety of projects.
  • Decisions will be made by July 19.
  • Applicants may submit proposals for both Public Space Project and Art About. However, applicants must keep in mind the intended content of the Art About and Public Space Project programs (see About sections).

Application materials include:

  • Applicant resume(s): One per individual if applying as a group.
  • Work samples: images, audio, and video files accepted.
    • Evaluation criteria: demonstrated ability and commitment to execute proposed project
  • Proposal describing project (limited to 4,000 characters including spaces): include which public space will be used, the project’s time frame and timeline (a few hours, 2 weeks, 3 months etc.), the target audience, constraints of outdoor public space such as access, weather, and treatment of historic surfaces, etc.
    • Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
    • Impact: Projects can demonstrate impact a number of ways including the longevity of a project (ie. transforming a public space for a long period of time), the potential for a project to influence perception or practice (ie. encouraging foot-traffic, forging new partnerships, engaging underserved populations, educating the public, or supporting the local economy), or the ingenuity of a proposal, among others.
    • Accessibility: 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, language etc.
  • Project budget: Download and fill out the below budget worksheet detailing all expenses (not to exceed $2,000) requested in order to execute project as well as the 25% applicant match. Applicant match may include: volunteer hours, donated equipment or materials, or fundraising. If using funding beyond DDI contribution or if vending will occur as part of the project, include additional projected income in budget with documentation. DDI funding may not be used for food or alcohol.
    • Budget will be evaluated on whether it is reasonable, specific to the project, and compensates all collaborators fairly.
    • Download the budget worksheet.
  • Location: Applicants should consider the opportunities and constrains of various public spaces and have an idea of where they would like to locate their project. Eligible sites for projects include but are not limited to: Alley 24, Alley 25/26, Holland Street Alley, Health and Human Services plaza, Durham Transit Center, Five Points Plaza, Five Points Alley, and CCB Plaza. Applicants are encouraged to propose other public or publicly-accessible spaces downtown.
  • Timeline: Describe when the project will take place and for how long.

Artists' Roles/Responsibilities

  • Provide a W-9 to DDI at least 4 weeks before first project payment
  • Provide narrative description of project to DDI for marketing and sponsorship purposes
  • Identify and hire any collaborators and/or sub-contractors; create/execute signed contracts with subs.
  • Working with DDI staff, provide list of needed materials, permits, and remuneration budget
  • Promote and publicize project using DDI-created marketing materials and event pages
  • Attend one to two meetings as required and requested by DDI to present ideas and progress
  • Provide final written plan at least 4 weeks prior to project commencement for a project that engages the public, is tailored to the site, and is in line with project goals. Plans should include: day-of play-by-play, spatial plan, installation/tear-down plan, and inclement weather plan.
  • Attend the entire project, or have representative present, and manage installation and teardown
  • Contribute to event summary discussion/report

Downtown Durham, Inc.'s Roles/Responsibilities

In addition to funding, DDI will support grantees by assisting with:

  • Guidance on spatial and property logistics including permitting
  • Facilitate neighborhood, property, and business owner buy-in
  • Online and print media marketing + promotion
  • Photo documentation and sandwich board signage


E-mail Rachel Wexler at


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


For updates, please enter your email address here.

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
    • DDI’s funding for the Public Space Project is revoked.
    • 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 50% of funding amount before the start of the project and the remainder by project completion. Payment plan may be 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 and publicity purposes only.