Celebration of Black Artistry in Neighborhoods Public Art Project

Upcoming Public Art Projects

Project Background 

The Celebration of Black Artistry in Neighborhoods Public Art Project is a series of community-led public art projects in nine under-represented historically Black neighborhoods across Durham.  

With strong consideration for the racial injustice in the community, community members have proposed the  Celebration of  Black Artistry  in Neighborhoods Public Art Project. As was proposed and supported by  City  Council at the City Council Special Meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, City staff will work with community members to honor the call to action and demands for change from the  local community by funding public art  projects with  a focus on youth in the arts, as a tool for healing in historically under-resourced communities of color.   The Bull City 150 projects outlines the racial and economic injustices promulgated against Black people in Durham (https://www.bullcity150.org/).   

Project Goals 

The  primary  goal of the Celebration of  Black Artistry in Neighborhoods  Public Art Project is to use art as a tool of  engagement  to promote community healing and equality  in nine of Durham’s under-represented historically Black neighborhoods. In coordination with a community leader, each neighborhood will work with a local artist to create public art that speaks to their history and culture on public streets, public amenities or buildings in their community.  

The goals include: 

  • Use art as a tool of engagement to promote community healing and equality in nine of Durham’s under-represented historically Black neighborhoods 
  • Activate each identified neighborhood through public art by working with local artists and community leaders to create artwork that speaks to the history and culture of their community  
  • Youth-based public art project, where young people are empowered to develop and create artwork for their neighborhoods.  

Lead Artist(s) 

The  Lead  Artist will  be  the overall project manager and will be  responsible for  implementing  the  project with identified youth  and community leaders. Implementation will include leading the visioning sessions and designing the artistic elements of the artwork. The Lead Artist will install the artwork as groundplane art, mural,  and/or  community building art where community members may have an active role in the creation and/or installation of the artwork.   The process will be supported by Community Art Project Coordinators and the Community Leads  to assist through the duration of the project. For each neighborhood public art project, a Community Art Project Coordinator will be paid to assist the Lead Artist. Community Art Project Coordinators will work with neighborhood community leaders, the Lead Artist, and artists to engage the neighborhood residents in a visioning process. Small community conversations around the  Celebration of Black  Artistry in Neighborhoods will occur in  accordance with  COVID-19 public safety  guidelines.  

The Lead Artist(s) will: 

  • Act as the overall Project Manager  including community engagement, artist-design, fabrication, signage, and documentation of the artworks 
  • Collaborate with  Community  Art  Coordinators  for  the project,  community leaders , Durham Cultural Advisory Board and Public Art Committee liaisons  
  • Host a series of Zoom and/or in-person meetings to discuss the goals and outcomes of the project  
  • Work with artists and community leaders to schedule components of the art  project  


College Heights
McDougald Terrace
West End 

Artist Selection Process 


The Celebration of Black Artistry in Neighborhoods Project's artist selection process will be determined by each neighborhood. 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 an 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: https://durhamnc.gov/2984/Durham-Calls-for-Artists.

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Application: Pre-Qualified Artist Registry

The Pre-Qualified Artist Registry has a rolling deadline for other upcoming public art projects. Apply today at https://durhamnc.gov/2984/Durham-Calls-for-Artists


The total budget allocation for the Celebration of Black Artistry in Neighborhoods Project in nine neighborhoods is $58,000 including community engagement, artist-design, fabrication, signage, and documentation of the artworks on site. Each neighborhood will be allocated an estimated budget of $6,230.


For information about the public art project, please contact the Cultural & Public Art Program staff here: 

Rebecca Brown
Cultural & Public Arts Program Manager
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 919-560-4197, ext. 21245