Rock Quarry

Rock Quarry_Public Art by Vandorn Hinnant

Project Background

The City of Durham is transforming Rock Quarry Park through landscaping, restoration and creative placemaking initiatives into a destination venue for local festivals and events such as the Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival. The Cultural and Public Art Program will collaborate with Department of Parks & Recreation to commission an artist or artist team to design and fabricate a sculptural public art installation at Rock Quarry Park located at 701 Stadium Drive Durham, NC 27704 as part of park renovations through Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funding.  

For the FY 2020-25 CIP, capital projects are funded through impact fees, enterprise funds, grants, the capital project fund, pay-go funding, and debt financings. More information about the CIP process and funding can be found here:

Public Art Specifications

The sculptural public art pieces will be used as a functional public art to hang festival and special event banners, and will require elements to attach the banners.
- Two separate public art pieces will be adjacent to the 12’ ft bridge, for the new park entrance over Ellerbe Creek (example bridge pictured above).
- Public art height: approximately 12-13 ft. Required clear height (10’ minimum) for emergency vehicles.
- Public art base: 3’ feet square concrete footers located on either side of the entry, raised 2’ feet above grade to support sculptural public art element.
- Sealed Engineered Drawing are required.  

Rock Quarry Park Renovations

Rock Quarry Park spans over 46 acres and is home to many festivals and events. The Edison Johnson Recreation Center, Aquatics Center, and Sprayground are all located on the Rock Quarry Park property. In between the recreation center and aquatics center sits a playground, sprayground, picnic tables, and a grill. The purpose of this project is to upgrade the park so that it can better support events, festivals, and daily use. Although DPR hosts annual events at the Rock Quarry Park including the Bimbé Festival, Rock the Park Series, Latino Festival, and Canine Field Day, failing stormwater infrastructure, limited vehicular access, and poor asphalt conditions limit the site's ongoing use as a large-scale festival destination. The project design will address failing stormwater infrastructure, accessibility issues, the addition of new park amenities; a stage platform, an extension trail between the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Trail and the Ellerbee Creek Trail, and a new 12’ wide bridge park entrance over Ellerbee Creek near the National Guard Armory. More information on the park can be found here.

Proposed Timeline

Tuesday, March 9, 2021: Pre-Qualified Artist Registry promotion for Rock Quarry begins
Friday, March 19, 2021: Pre-Qualified Artist Registry closes for Rock Quarry 
Mid April 2021: Notify Artists of Decision by Artist Selection Panel
Late April 2021: Design Development and Community Engagement begins (4 Weeks) 
Late May 2021: Design Development and Community Engagement ends 
June 2021: Fabrication/installation begins based on construction of site 
February 2022: Completed installation deadline 


Rock Quarry_Location of the public art will be near Stadium Drive by the National Guard Armory

Rock Quarry Park
701 Stadium Dr
Durham, NC 27704

Pictured: The yellow shape is the approximate location for bridge and sculptural public art at a new entrance for Rock Quarry Park.

Artist Selection Process

Artist Selection Process: Pre-Qualified Artist Registry. The deadline to submit to the Pre-Qualified Artist Registry to be eligible to create public art at Rock Quarry Park was Friday, March 19, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST. A panel of community members, Durham Parks and Recreation stakeholders, and City staff served to select Vandorn Hinnant to design and install the public artwork at Rock Quarry Park.

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.


Vandorn Hinnant Biography 

Born in Greensboro NC in 1953, Vandorn Hinnant received a BA from NC A & T State University in Greensboro NC in 1981. He is a recipient of a 1993-1994 NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award, and has participated in artist residencies at The Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, Project Row Houses (Round 10), Penland School of Crafts, Center for Design Innovation (W-S, NC), the National Arts Education Association, and the Brandywine Workshop, a leader in the development of offset lithography as a fine art.  He has served as guest curator, juror, and lecturer at a number of colleges and universities. Hinnant has also served as a museum preparator for his alma mater and the Diggs Gallery at Winston Salem State University.

Hinnant is an artist who continues to develop within the mainstream parameters of Modernist abstraction. Drawing is at the heart of his practice and for the last two decades or so his work has become more reliant upon the principles of Sacred Geometry. By focusing on nonrepresentational subject matter and harmoniously balanced shapes and colors, Hinnant creates works that hold a conceptual meaning at the convergence of science and studies in consciousness. As he has written, his 2D work can be described as “a refined synthesis of abstract expressionist painting and Sacred Geometry drawings”. A compelling sculptural vocabulary with similar magic and energy has developed over the past twelve years. Hinnant’s sculptures that hang from ceilings or sit on pedestals are not discontinuous with his earlier work. On the contrary, these sculptures sustain Hinnant’s deep involvement with the world and his will to transfigure it with a range of media including wood and metal. The twin sculptures Together We Rise, his award-winning commission to create a commemorative monument for the City of Winston-Salem, A Monument to Leadership at Fayetteville State University, and A Monument to DIGNITY and RESPECT are culminating examples. His works of art are in numerous private and corporate collections throughout North America, with some in Africa and Europe. 

Artist Statement

"From the beginning of my journey as artist, my work has been an attempt to record and convey ideas on the subject of relationships in the broadest sense of the word. 

Communication is the central theme of these works. I understand these geometries to be imbued with the energetic signatures akin to that of the mineral kingdom. Our physical sciences now bear significant evidence attesting to the geometries of matter as being central to our understandings of modern physics. 

I offer these geometries as evidence of the eternal verities known to the builders of ancient civilizations. I choose to think of these works as sculptural evidence of the organizing principles present in Nature and understood by some in terms of the Golden Ratio. The sciences have brought us closer to the understandings of the builders of ancient civilizations. We are now able to scientifically verify the influence of specific geometric patterns on matter. 

The Golden Ratio, present throughout Nature and employed by artisans from antiquity, has become the point of reference for each of the works of art that I bring into existence. By building on what the ancients discovered and engaged, I am one of a small group of individuals dedicated to upholding a design ethic congruent with and in sympathetic resonance with the harmonic spatial frequencies found throughout the natural world. 

Each of these works of art are carefully composed utilizing design principles congruent with those manifesting as the generative forces of Nature. In so doing, these inherent harmonic spatial frequencies resonate with living organisms in the environments in which they are placed, and are experienced as being supportive in a variety of ways. 

The understandings referenced here have factored into each of the ancient architectural structures that stand today. These understandings, serving as a foundation for what is brought forth, govern and guide my every act of creating."