W.D. Hill Recreation Center

Wade Williams_WD Hill Mural


As part of the Capital Improvement Plan initiative to renovate various aspects of the W.D. Hill Recreation Center, the interior and/or exterior walls will act as a canvas for mural installations.

The renovations for W.D. Hill Recreation Center will provide much needed building repairs, improved security, and renovations to enhance the identity and visual appearance of the building.  Other repairs and replacements include adding a new opening between the gym and administrative office to create an open and welcoming environment. Improvements in the basketball gym at W.D. Hill Recreation Center will include equipment replacement, painting and graphics, and other repairs.    

By utilizing the Pre-Qualified Artist Registry, an artist will be identified to complete community engagement, design concepts, fabrication, and the installation of the work. Artists will be responsible for developing community engagement sessions and communication tools to gather feedback on the design concept and foster relationships with surrounding community leaders.  A budget of $8,000 has been allocated to the fabrication and installation of the public artwork at W.D. Hill Recreation Center.  

W.D. Hill Recreation Center  

The W.D. Hill Recreation Center is located at the intersection of Fayetteville Street and Massey Street, surrounded by local landmarks, such as the Hayti Heritage Center, North Carolina Central University, and the Lincoln Community Health Center. The recreation center is named after William Daniel Hill (1890-1945), better known by his initials "W.D." Hill, was an executive of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. and the prime mover in the firm's projects to serve Durham's African American youth.  

Initial designs


The initial design created by the selected artist, Wade Williams, features prominent figures in Durham's history. These individuals include William Daniel Hill (W.D. Hill), Joe Williams, Bonnie D. Logan, and John H. Lucas II, all of whom are Durham natives and graduates of Hillside High School.


Artist(s) Selection Process: Pre-Qualified Artist Registry. The deadline to submit to the Pre-Qualified Artist Registry to be eligible to create public artwork at W.D. Hill Recreation Center was Friday, March 19, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.

The Pre-Qualified Artist Registry has a rolling deadline for other upcoming public art projects. Apply today!

The City of Durham’s Cultural and Public Art Program invites artists and artist teams to submit portfolios to be selected to join the City of Durham Pre-Qualified Artist Registry. This registry serves as a resource for the program’s selection of artists and artist teams to create City cultural and public art projects. Candidates must either identify as or partner with a professional artist, designer, or fabricator, eligible to work in the United States, and age 18 and older. The City encourages people from diverse backgrounds to apply. Candidates are eligible regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identification, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical ability. All applications must be in digital format and include an artist statement, photos of previous work, a personal resume(s), and references.

Full submission guidelines, project details, and submission portal are available here.


Wade Williams is a Durham, NC native with a passionate interest in the city’s diverse cultural development through visual art. After graduating from St. Augustine’s University in 1972 with a BA in Fine Arts, Williams attended the Art Students League of New York. While there, he studied drawing and oil painting under the renown Hughie Lee Smith and participated in many art showings, the last of which was in The Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center. Williams worked with the Philadelphia Mural Art and Big Picture Programs for over 10 years, teaching mural art to youth and was employed by the Greater Philadelphia Horticulture Society, teaching Art in the Park, which included creating backdrops and building props. After returning to Durham, Williams was commissioned to paint a mural for the Lincoln Community Health Center and was a contributing artist in the Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project. Williams is a current member of the Durham Public Art Committee, the Durham Art Guild, and a lifetime member of the Art Students League of New York.