Pictured above: "Sunshine Over Africa", Wade Williams, 2020. Drone image by the City of Durham's Fire Department. Before image of Lakeview Park prior to public art installation. Design Concept for "Sunshine Over Africa" by Wade Williams.
As part of Bank of America’s Community Resiliency Grant Program, the City of Durham's Cultural and Public Art Program and Durham Parks and Recreation collaborated with Keep Durham Beautiful and Bragtown residents to commission Durham-based artist Wade Williams to create ground plane art at Lakeview Park. The Community Resiliency Grant Program, led by the Arbor Day Foundation and Bank of America, funds programs that drive green infrastructure projects, expand tree equity, and increase resiliency in urban communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Keep Durham Beautiful focused its efforts in Durham’s Bragtown neighborhood by hosting community tree planning events, environmental art and education activities, and community education to increase urban canopy.
Local artists were invited to apply for the ground plane public art project by submitting their qualifications through the City's Pre-Qualified Artist Registry process. An artist selection panel of community members, stakeholders and City staff commissioned Wade Williams to work with community members and stakeholders to develop designs and install the groundplane mural in late 2020. Williams developed initial designs with input from community members through community conversations and an online survey. The project budget was $7,000 including cost for community engagement, artist-design, fabrication, and documentation of the artwork.
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.
Other artists that volunteered and assisted on this project include: Mercedes J. Bowman, Claire Alexander, and Sandra Murphy.
Artist Statement on "Sunshine Over Africa"
This ground-plane mural is comprised of four vibrantly colored graphic designs that children and other community members will enjoy for years to come. Some of the designs are interactive, while others will stimulate conversations and provide relativity that hopefully will have a positive, lasting impact.
- Afrocentric Pattern of a Sunrise - The art elements in this design are lines, geometric shapes, primary colors, and a mixture of complimentary colors.
- Map of Africa - Organic shapes, primary, secondary, complimentary colors and a mixture of complimentary colors are used in this design.
- American and English Hopscotch - Lines, geometric shapes, primary, secondary, complimentary colors, and a mixture of complimentary colors are utilized in this design.
Lakeview Park is a wooded park in northeast Durham across from Lakeview Secondary School. The park features a baseball/softball field, basketball court, grill, picnic shelter and tables, a playground and a water fountain.
3500 Dearborn Drive
Durham, NC 27704
Click or call 919-560-1200