Keep Bull City Litter-Free Public Art Project

W. Club_Completed Project_Groundplane art example

Project Background

The City of Durham Cultural and Public Art Program in partnership with Keep Durham Beautiful (KDB) received a $15,000 grant from South Arts to promote litter prevention through creative public art at three upcoming bus stop shelters across Durham. These bus shelters are located at Fulton Street directly in front of the Durham VA Medical Center; Erwin Road at Fulton Street; and E Main Street at Dillard Street near the Durham County Human Services Building.

Durham’s grant award funded the collaboration to create new ground plane murals that encourage residents to decrease cigarette butt litter and act as advocacy agents around litter prevention in their community. The City’s Cultural and Public Art Program and KDB worked closely with Jai Martin, the selected artist, to design temporary ground plane murals around the bus shelter locations in summer 2021. These new shelters also include newly installed ash receptacles and ballot bins as a way to encourage residents to reduce litter. Ballot bins are customizable ashtrays with clear glass fronts that display a question and two answers for smokers to vote on by putting their cigarette butts into one of the answer slots underneath.  

South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists and arts organizations through an array of grants, fellowships, and programs. South Arts uses the Cross-Sector Impact Grant program to provide significant support to projects developed by partners that harness the power of “Arts & …”, for example, arts and the military, arts and equity, arts and aging, arts and community revitalization. Durham’s project is funded in part by a grant from this South Arts program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. 

The City and Keep Durham Beautiful worked closely with Jai Martin to design temporary ground-plane murals around three bus shelter sites with newly installed Ballot Bins (ash receptacles) and completed community engagement sessions at Durham Bus Station. Following the completion of the project, Jai Martin developed a video available to watch on the City's YouTube channel. Martin also visited Morehead Montessori Magnet Elementary, a Durham Public School, to talk with the students about litter prevention, sustainable art practices, and recyclable art materials. 

Selected Artist: Jai Martin 

Jai Martin_headshot

Jai Martin is a painter, illustrator, and designer based in Durham. Upon graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communications, Martin began working as a designer. In 2012, he created the brand Contrare, where he works as an artist and illustrator.

Artist Statement
"I’m not sure if I’m an artist, so I’m not sure if this is an artist statement."

Initial Designs 

SouthArts Design TwoSouthArts Design OneIn the artist's own words:

Durham flag gradient
A gradient is defined as: change in the value of a quantity (such as temperature, pressure, or concentration) with change in a given variable and especially per unit distance in a specified direction. The gradient represents “change in the value of a quantity” of littering by the Durham community in these bus stop areas.

Represents the Stars from the Durham flag.

My City My Responsibility
This statement refers to the responsibility we all have to keeping the community clean.

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 for the Keep Bull City Litter-Free groundplane project was Friday, July 9, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST. Apply today for other public art projects!

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

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.


These bus shelter locations are: 

Seven Oaks Road at Riverview Shopping Center - (Map)
Stop ID: 5127

South Arts_Cross Sector_Riverview before picture

South Arts_Cross Sector_Riverview

Blackwell St. at Forest Hills Apts - (Map)
Stop ID: 6494

Blackwell St. at Forest Hill
South Arts_Cross Sector_Blackwell

E Main Street at Dillard Street (WB), near E Main Street & Department of Public Health and Human Services - (Map)
Stop ID: 5819

Screen Shot 2021-06-02 at 10.36.42 AM
South Arts_Cross Sector_Main Street


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