Cultural Roadmap

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Charging Durham, 2017 by Frank Kreacic. Located at 101 City Hall Plaza in downtown Durham. 

AMS Planning & Research Selected as Lead Consultant for Durham Cultural Roadmap

AMS Planning and Research has been selected as the lead consultant with local artists, creative workers, and Creative Community Partners to collaborate on equitable engagement for the Durham Cultural Roadmap. 

In late January 2023, a resident and staff panel reviewed eight proposals from consultant firms applying to lead the Durham community in a yearlong cultural planning process. Three firms were identified as finalists and participated in interviews. The resident and staff panel recommended AMS Planning and Research for the consultant contract for the Cultural Roadmap, which was also endorsed by the Durham Cultural Advisory Board. City Council approved AMS's contract on April 17, 2023. 

AMS Planning and Research’s proposal for Durham highlighted the firm’s commitment and experience in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access; team members have extensive training and practice in working with marginalized communities. For the Cultural Roadmap, AMS Planning and Research has complimented the strengths of its team members with local partners who have experience and familiarity with the Durham Community.  

About AMS Planning and Research (AMS)

AMS was founded in 1988 with a deep commitment to the role of the arts in communities. AMS’s purpose is to help leaders, institutions, artists, and supporters adapt and change to realize ventures that are effective, resilient, and vital.  

AMS’s 34 years of experience assures the team has the knowledge and expertise to provide meaningful perspective in these dynamic times. Through deep engagement in the arts and cultural sector, AMS captures and shares insights, document best practices, and develop frameworks that give clients the strategic direction needed to move forward with informed, practical, and achievable recommendations. 

As a partner with clients, AMS engages in conversation and joint action planning to inform how equity, diversity, inclusion, and access priorities can manifest in the way organizations operate, impacting internal stakeholders, as well as the community. AMS recognizes this work as critical, requiring long-term commitment to time and resources. 

Durham Cultural Roadmap developed with local Creative Community Partners

Local artists and creative workers (Creative Community Partners) will be invited to apply for a sub-contracting opportunity with AMS. The selected team of local artists/creative workers will develop and offer locally relevant engagement opportunities during the planning process. By infusing local artists, writers, performers, and other creative workers in the planning process, the final plan will reflect the many voices of the Durham community and lead to greater vitality of Durham’s unique cultural community.  

Interested in Applying?  

Sign up for the “Calls for Artists” email list, here, or below. 

Sign up for email ALerts 

Sign up today to receive emails for Cultural Roadmap updates and volunteer opportunities! The City and County will be calling upon volunteers to serve on special topic panels throughout the planning process.



 Daily digest summary format



To guide the Cultural Roadmap planning process, Durham Cultural Advisory Board developed a vision, mission, and values in 2022.


We envision a thriving arts and culture sector in Durham. We celebrate the cultural practices, histories, institutions, and individuals that define Durham’s art and culture sector. We work towards the preservation of Durham’s cultural heritage, the protection of cultural assets and the equitable distribution of resources to artists, cultural workers, and organizations in the arts and culture sector for the benefit of all Durham residents. We welcome new stories and strive to embrace and extend Durham’s cultural community to all residents and visitors of Durham. 


Our mission is to create a five-year plan through inclusive, accessible, and equitable county-wide engagement processes that will maintain, grow, and sustain the arts and culture sector in Durham for the next decade and beyond. 

To learn more about the Vision, Mission and Values, visit: 

Cultural Roadmap Vision & Values (PDF) 

Hoja de Ruta Cultural - Visión, misión y valores (PDF)  


Cultural Roadmap Timeline beginning May 2023 ending August 2024


The Cultural Roadmap Planning Group will help steer the Cultural Roadmap from the beginning of the planning process to the final recommended plan. The Cultural Roadmap Planning Group represents the public and private sector, philanthropy, neighborhoods, education, cultural groups, artists, cultural workers, and other creatives, in addition to young people.  The Cultural Roadmap Planning Group members were selected by the Durham Cultural Advisory Board through a robust application and review process.  All members of the group live and/or work in Durham.   

The Planning Group meets regularly and reports to Durham Cultural Advisory Board on their work.  Responsibilities include: 

  • Inform development of the plan consultant scope of work and selection process; 
  • Shape and participate in the community engagement process; 
  • Advise on plan development, identify priorities, evaluation strategy, and plan outcomes; 
  • Monitor the plan as it develops, including risks and timelines; 
  • Recommend refinements to the planning process where needed; and 
  • Present the plan residents and elected officials. 

To learn more about the Durham Cultural Roadmap Planning Group, visit:  

Durham Cultural Roadmap Planning Group

Grupo de Planeación de la Hoja de Ruta Cultural 

Cultural Roadmap Planning Group Members

The Cultural Roadmap Planning Group is led by Co-Chairs Steve Schewel, former Mayor of the City of Durham and Zena Howard, Principal & Managing Director at Perkins & Will, along side the Honorary Co-Chairs, Mayor Pro Tempore Mark Anthony Middleton and Chair of the County Commissioners Brenda Howerton.  

Cultural Roadmap Planning Group Chairs

Mark-Anthony Middleton
Honorary Chair

Mayor Pro Tempore,
City of Durham
Brenda Howerton,
Honorary Chair

Chair, Durham County Commissioners
Zena Howard

Principal and Managing Director, Perkins & Will
Steve Schewel,

Former Mayor of Durham

Cultural Roadmap Planning Group Members

Antonio Alanis
Artist, Board Members Diamante Arts & Cultural Center
Susan Amey
President/CEO of Discover Durham
John Brown
Artist, Vice Provost for the Arts at Duke University

JB Buxton
President of Durham Technical Community College
Javiera Caballero
Durham City Council
E'Vonne Coleman
Cultural Leader,
Retired Consultant

Chelsea Contreras
Latino Community Credit Union
Lightsey Darst
Artist, Development Program Director for the Arts and Humanities at Duke University

Lois Deloatch
Non-profit Advisor
Kathryn Desplanque
Artist, Art History Professor at
UNC - Chapel Hill
Sherry DeVries
Executive Director of the
Durham Arts Council

Rodrigo Dorfman
Akiva Fox
Artist, Bulldog Ensemble Theatre
Oscar Garcia
Engagement Specialist and Interpreter 
with Durham County Public Health

Lana Garland
Artist, Self-Employed,
Insibah Media
Chandra Guinn
Executive Director for Diversity, 
Equity and Inclusion, McKinney
Carrie Heinonen
CEO of the Museum of 
Life and Science,
Durham Rotary

Denise Hester
Small Business Owner,
 Phoenix Fest, Durham Business and Professional Chain Representative
Lilyn Hester 
Head of Southeast External Affairs and 
Government Relations, Google, 
Board Member of Durham Chamber of Commerce
Joseph Jordan
Vice Provost for Academic and Community Engagement at
UNC - Chapel Hill,
DCAB Representative

Barbara Lau
Executive Director,
Pauli Murray Center
Angela Lee
Executive and Artistic Director, Hayti Heritage Center

Girija Mahajan
Recreation and Advisory Commission
Nori McDuffie
Durham Office on Youth
Patrick Mucklow
Executive Director,
Museum of Durham History
Britney Nava Munoz
Youth Representative,
Changed by Youth Organization

Jodee Nimerichter
Executive Director,
American Dance Festival
Mimi O'Brien
Executive Director,
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation
David Young Oh
Owner, Radical Healing, 
Program Volunteer for OUTSOUTH: Queer Film Festival

Steven Pearson
Corporate Social Responsibility at IBM
Kym Register
Owner, Pinhook

Laura Ritchie
Self-Employed, Pop Box Gallery, Curator, Public Art Committee Representative
Pilar Rocha-Goldberg
President/CEO of El Centro Hispano, Inc.
Arthur Rogers
Durham Library Foundation

Aya Shabu
Artist, Village of Wisdom/Whistle Stop Tours

Casey Steinbacher
Executive Director,
Made in Durham
Nicole Thompson
President/CEO of
Downtown Durham Inc.
Bettina Umstead
Chair, Durham Public Schools Board of Education
Andre Vann
Archivist and Historian,
Public History Professor at
North Carolina Central University
Quay Weston
Business Owner, Designer with community non-profits


On October 21, 2021 during a City Council Work Session, the Durham Cultural Advisory Board shared a presentation on the board’s engagement efforts and conversations with arts and cultural community workers throughout 2021. Based on their findings, the board requested that the Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners jointly support the development of a new cultural plan.  To watch the board’s presentation, visit:  

The Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Commissioners entered a joint agreement to govern the development of the new Cultural Roadmap on October 3, 2022. The Cultural Roadmap planning process will be led by Durham Cultural Advisory Board, with input from the Cultural Roadmap Planning Group. This 35-member volunteer group will be appointed by the Durham Cultural Advisory Board and reflect the diversity of the Durham community. 

The Cultural Roadmap’s purpose is to survey the Durham community and develop a plan to further enhance Durham’s cultural and arts landscape, maximize resources, and provide a coordinated vision and collaboration among a variety of community, cultural, civic, and business partners. In late 2023, the Cultural Roadmap will be presented to both the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Commissioners. 

Budget and Administration   

The Durham City Council and Durham County Commissioners have each appropriated $150,000 to fund this important planning process that will result in clear recommendations to maintain, support and grow the cultural community, both organizations and individual members, for the benefit of residents and visitors.   

In addition, Durham Cultural Advisory Board has solicited and received significant private donations from Durham’s philanthropic community in support of this effort. These funds will be used to support robust, interactive and creative community engagement and communications. City and County cultural and public art program staff will provide administrative support for the planning process. 

Request for Proposals (RFP) Cultural Planning Consultant

The City issued a Request for Proposals on December 22, 2022 and received eight complete proposals for review and consideration. A review panel of six residents and representatives of both the City and County, made their recommendation to the City and County leadership that AMS Planning and Research be awarded the consultant contract. The recommendation was also endorsed by the Durham Cultural Advisory Board.  

The Request for Proposal submission deadline has passed.  

The Request for Proposals document is posted here:  

2004 Cultural Plan Background

The Durham Cultural Master Plan (PDF), was approved by the City Council and Board of County Commissioners to advance numerous goals and strategies for success to be accomplished over a fifteen year period spanning 2004 to 2019. 

Language Access  

Notice under the Language Access Plan Persons requiring language assistance to effectively participate in this event may contact the General Services Department at 919-560-4197, or [email protected] to request interpretation and/or translation services as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the event or deadline date. 

Aviso bajo el Plan de Acceso al Idioma Personas que requieran asistencia lingüística para participar efectivamente en este evento pueden comuncarse con el Departamento de Servicios Generales al 919-560-4197 or [email protected] para solicitar los servicios de interpretación y / o traducción tan pronto como sea posible pero no menos de 48 horas antes del evento o fecha límite. 

HOJA DE RUTA CULTURAL - Visión, misión y valores  



For information about the board and the application process, please contact the Cultural & Public Art Program staff here:  

Annette L. Smith 
Grants and Special Projects Analyst, Sr.
Arts, Culture, and Sustainable Communities Division 
City of Durham | General Services Department
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 919-560-4197 

Cultural Roadmap Partner Logos