Public Space Project


Downtown Durham, Inc. hosts performances, pop-ups, installations, murals, and more in downtown Durham’s public spaces. The Public Space Project focuses on retaining and supporting the creative and artistic cultures of Durham and upholding public spaces of convergence. We encourage collaborative, unexpected, thought-provoking and unifying work.

This program provides grants to individuals and organizations who will bring creative free of charge experiences to downtown Durham.


The application period for Season 3 has closed. Due to COVID-19, the application period for Season 4 has been postponed.

Season 2 Projects

DDI is pleased to announce the selected artists for PSP Season 2!

Public space activations will take place through early 2020. Follow #ddipublicspaceproject for the latest details.


Candy Carver

Paint Durham

October 12, 2019

Paint Durham is an art, music and cultural event that I established in 2014. This iteration will be a single day event, held in Five Points 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.

Kristi Stout - headshot for website2
Bethany Bash - headshot for website2
Nina Oteria - Headshot for website

Kristi Stout, Bethany Bash and Nina Oteria

The Corcoran Poetry Wall

November 2019

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. We aim 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.

Julia Headshot

Julia Gartrell

The Radical Repair Shop

January + February 2020

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"? Julia 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.


Michelle Gonzalez-Green

Call Your Ancestor

March 2020

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.

2019 Selection Committee


  • Marcella Camara

    Young, Gifted & Broke

  • Sandi Haynes

    Phillips Oppenheim

  • Stacey Poston

    City of Durham

  • Saba Taj

    The Carrack

  • Mike Williams

    Black on Black Project


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


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