Public Art Collection

City of Durham Public Art Program1

The Durham Public Art Program contains a growing number of permanent and temporary works exhibited throughout the city. The collection contains works from public artists locally and around the country, and helps enhance the sense of place experienced by Durhamites and visitors alike.Take a moment to explore and enjoy Durham through its Public Art Collection!  

Interactive Public Art Map
Want to explore Durham's public art on the go? Click Public Art Collection Map for a graphic of public art locations across the city.

City Center District

DurhamCivilRightsMural_jpgWe Must Remember and Continue to Tell, 2015
Brenda Miller Holmes

The Durham Civil Rights Mural is located next to the Durham Arts Council. Artist Brenda Miller Holmes helped create a number of different opportunities for  community members,ranging in age from 15 to 65, to participate in this community-centered project. The mural depicts local leaders in the fight for civil rights, including Dr. Aaron Moore, who founded the first hospital for African-Americans in Durham; Richard Fitzgerald, who was a successful brickmaker in Durham; Ann Atwater, a civil rights activist; and C.P. Ellis, a former KKK leader who became an unlikely friend of Atwater’s, changing from an advocate for segregation to one of desegregation.

Plaza 002Pursuit of Happiness, 2014
Charlie Bauer

The Pursuit of Happiness was part of the inaugural 2014 Bull City Sculpture Show, hosted by Liberty Arts. Artists Charlie Bauer created the piece to convey the importance of living in the moment. The sculpture is made of locust wood, one of the hardest and most weather-resistant woods in the world. After the show, a private resident who enjoyed seeing the sculpture purchased the piece and donated it to the City. The piece remains in its original location in Convention Center Plaza.

Major_jpgMajor the Bull, 2007
Michael Waller and Leah Foushee

Standing tall in City Center Plaza, Major the Bull is a Durham favorite. Named after the late Durham banker, philanthropist, and World War II veteran Major George Watts Hill, this large bronze sculpture has become an important symbol of Durham. Major the Bull was commissioned through a grant from Central Carolina Bank and has become a beloved civic piece in CCB Plaza.

ArtAlcovesCharging Durham, 2017
Frank Kreacic

Inspired by many facets of the City, Frank Kreacic draws on history, citizenry, and progress in the fabrication of his 3D tribute to the spirit and future of Durham. Based on the Durham City Flag, the three areas of color—Red, Yellow, and Blue—are placed similarly across the three panels. Kreacic represents the city’s early beginnings by the old map and wheel of a train in the first panel. The train engineer on the center panel symbolizes the people of Durham, and the right panel, surrounded by the city’s streets, holds the head and horns of the bull. Kreacic’s piece speaks to the tenacity and creativity of the Bull City.  The paintings can be enjoyed without 3-D glasses, but those who want to see the full effect can borrow the glasses from the City Hall lobby.


Chalice_jpg(2)Chalice, 2014
Al Frega

The Chalice was donated to the City by Downtown Durham, Inc. as a tribute to the organization’s founder and former CEO, Bill Kalkhof. The sculpture symbolizes the rebirth of downtown Durham. The base consists of three legs made from heavy steel components collected from the “relics” of industry past; trolley rail, piping, beams, water tower legs, etc. The metalwork and stem at the base are meant to resemble the city skyline.

All the Possibilities of Stacking UpAll the Possibilities, 1988
Vernon Pratt

The Durham Arts Council, with the support of a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, issued a call to commission an exterior piece of public art  for the courtyard of the Durham Arts Council. Vistors are invited to explore Pratt's stone, geometric installation.

WindingOut2Winding Out, 2014
Robert Winkler

This public art sculpture was part of the Bull City Sculpture Show.

HereComesTheSunHere Comes the Sun, 1975
Karen Sterm Perkins

This sunny, vibrant mural is the product of a student art competition sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Foundation, the Durham Arts Council, the Council for Creative Art in Public Schools, and the city and county school of Durham. Fifteen year-old artist and student Karen Stern's sunburst design was selected from over thirty other applicants. The mural was conserved and restored in the early 1990's.

YouthfulPauli Murray Murals, 2008
Brett Cook

Part of the collaborative story-telling project "Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life". This mural is part of a series of fourteen permanent murals across Durham. The project was led by Brett Cook, a public artist with over 20 years of collaborative community-based art-making. "Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life" is a project of Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in association with the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project and the Duke office of Community Affairs.

ParrishStHistoric2_jpg(3)

Parrish Street Markers, 2009
Al Frega, Michael Waller and Leah Foushee

These bronze sculptures are part of a series of six monuments detailing "Black Wall Street" in Durham.

Time Bridge (PhotoTimebridge, 2015
Odili Donald Odita

Artist Odili Donald Odita represents Durham's "melting pot of sorts" identity in this abstract, colorful mural. Time Bridge is one of two wall paintings commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art in celebration of it's ten-year anniversary.

Wall of Hope 2Wall of Hope, 2008
Andria Linn

This mural was installed in 2008 as a fundraiser for Threshold Clubhouse, a local group that helps adults in Durham with severe mental illness stay out of the hospital, succeed at work, advance their education, and reach their goals. The mural is a celebration of life and sends a message of community empowerment. The connected chain of individuals depicted represents themes of togetherness and support, while the open hands and doves portray love and friendship.

Candy Carver street mural

The Drain on Main, 2017
Candy Carver

The City of Durham commissioned Artist Candy Carver to create colorful, visual imagery along a stormwater drain on West Main Street. The project promoted awareness of the importance preserving local streams and waterways.

Central Park District

Mr.Pickles_jpgMr. Pickles, 2005
Michael Waller and Leah Foushee

A friendly turtle invites guests to Durham Central Park to climb aboard his shell and play at the park.






PhatRyan_jpg(2)Phat Ryan, 2009
Michael Waller and Leah Foushee

A Central Park favorite, Phat Ryan is a curious cardinal sculpture designed for children to climb and explore.

Earthsplitter_jpg(1)Earthsplitter, 2007
Michael Waller and Leah Foushee

This unique sculpture can be found across from the Durham Farmer's Market stalls in Durham Central Park.

Trinity Park


Untitled, 2003
Andrew Preiss

In 2003 the Trinity Park neighborhood raised money to create a memorial art work in honor of Max Rogers, a key resident responsible for sustaining and revitalizing the Trinity Park neighborhood. The work chosen to honor Rogers was designed by Andrew Preiss and is made of fiber reinforced cement over a steel armature. A key feature of the work are the metal discs of stainless steel and copper, which resemble a Studebaker hubcap. Max Rogers drove a Studebaker for most of his adult life. The sculpture’s placement in Trinity Park is significant in that it is located across the street from the family home of Rogers on Trinity Avenue.

South Durham

StephensBentStephen's Bent, 2010
Thomas Sayre

This 17 foot sculpture, composed of stacked earthcast slabs of red clay, pays homage to the land of Durham County and its long agricultural history. In the title, the name "Stephen" refers to Stephen Lowe, the 18th century patriarch of the Lowe family for whom the area Lowe's Grove is named. The word "Bent" refers to tobacco barn parlance. Commissioned for the South Regional Library,  Stephen's Bent was made possible by a generous donation from the C.M. Herndon Foundation.

Southern Boundaries_BSSouthern Boundaries Park Mural, 2017
Julienne Alexander and Julia Gartrell

This colorful mural is based off of sillohettes of Durhamites collected by artist team Julia Gartrell and Julienne Alexander. This installation is the first itteration of a continued effort to bring murals to parks across Durham.

Penguin

Penguin, Date Unknown
Benjamin Bufano

Benjamin Bufano was an Italian American sculptor who specialized in large scale, modernist works. "Penguin" is true to this style, featuring two large penguins and simple shapes.