Black Wall Street Gardens

Project Background

The City of Durham’s Cultu0004ral and Public Art Program and the Public Art Committee have select the African-American artist team, David Wilson and Stephen Hayes to design, fabricate and install public art in the Black Wall Street Gardens, a greenspace located at 102 W. Main Street. The plaza has undergone lighting, landscaping, and walkway improvements to further enhance the greenspace as a pedestrian-friendly gathering space. Two walkways traverse the greenspace and provides a space for moveable seating, tables, and the future site for the Black Wall Street permanent art installation. The piece is to commemorate and illuminate the importance of Black Wall Street and the legacy of Durham’s African-American business community. 

David Wilson is a Durham-based artist who explores the connection between architecture, nature and the public.  The story of community and place is the primary driver of his installations is the narration. The Durham-based artist serves as Public Art Consultant for Go-Triangle, assisting in the creation of original art for new transit shelters throughout Durham. Stephen Hayes recently received a Master of Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, whose power sculptural work has been exhibited in the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and the Nasher Museum at Duke University.

Design Concept

The general and specific design features will: 

  • Honor achievements of African American women in business and education during early 20th century
  • Highlight social change that laid the foundation for what became Black Wall Street
  • Celebrate African American ingenuity and entrepreneurship

The actual look and feel of each sculpture will emerge in a way that is thematically tied to Black Wall Street’s unique history. The diversity of materials used (e.g. metal, brick, paint) will metaphorically speak to the strength, foundation, and adaptability of Durham’s African American community.

For more information, contact: Alexandra Benson, Cultural and Public Art Program Assistant, at 919-560-4197 x21238 or alexandra.benson@durhamnc.gov