Fire & EMS Station 18

Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection. National Museum of American History

City of Durham Fire Department Badge

Pictured: (Left) Example of Archival Photography. Source: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection. National Museum of American History. (Right) City of Durham Fire Department Badge. 

Project Background

Recognizing the need to facilitate storytelling and documentation with a focus on Durham’s diverse and unique history, the Cultural and Public Art Program will hire a Public Historian and Photographer team (“Candidates”) for a public art project centered around historical documentation and education of Durham’s Fire Department history. 

The City seeks Candidates to create artworks that contribute to the interest and aesthetic appeal of the Fire Department and develop archival resources for the public to learn about Durham’s history. The Candidates will work in collaboration to capture and archive the Fire Station's objects of historical significance as digital images, large-scale photographs and/or vinyl printed murals along with interpretative text, which will be displayed inside of the Fire & EMS Station 18 and through an online platform. The Candidates will also work with the Fire Department staff to document the everyday objects used in their work and capture the current staff’s commitment to the community.  

The selected Candidate(s) will work to:  

  • Beautify the interior spaces of Fire & EMS Station 18 while simultaneously capturing history past and present; 
  • Create a public history project promoting community storytelling;  
    • The photographic artwork and documents must relate to the history of Durham’s Fire Departments. For example, art could connect visually to the site of the Fire & EMS Station 18 or interpret historical, environmental, decorative, architectural, scientific, or cultural aspects of the site and/or department. 
  • Create printed photographs for interior wall hangings that will be framed with the option of fabricating vinyl murals based on preference of Fire & EMS staff. The Public Historian will provide interpretative text to accompany the photographs; and 
  • Develop content for digital and/or online platforms for broad public access.  

As one of the Fire Stations currently displays objects of historical importance, the public art project will strengthen the public’s ability to access the collection by hosting the content through an online platform, in addition to celebrating and acknowledging the complex history of the Fire Department. These archival images have potential for long-term development as well, including the utilization of the images in Fire and EMS stations across Durham and having the collection housed on the City of Durham’s online platforms or Durham County’s Library archival systems. 

City of Durham Fire Department & Capital Improvement Projects

Fire Department’s Mission
The Durham Fire Department endeavors to prevent or minimize the harmful effects of fires, medical emergencies, and other types of dangerous events. The City of Durham is home to approximately 300,000 residents. The Durham Fire Department employs over 400 personnel to protect and serve our residents and visitors that the City hosts daily. Approximately 90% of these personnel serve in on-the-ground, field operations.  

Capital Improvement Projects
Located in an established residential neighborhood, the proposed Fire and EMS Station 18 will be a 15,000sf, modern facility based upon the current prototype developed for Fire and EMS Station 17. The new facility will serve as an operational base supporting the relocated Fire and EMS Staff from the current station to increase service to the public while reducing response time from a more central location. Aspects important to the design team are incorporating the City’s sustainability and energy management goals into the design, continuing LEED achievements established with Station 17, and adapting design features into the existing neighborhood.  

For the FY 2020-25 CIP, capital projects are funded through impact fees, enterprise funds, grants, the capital project fund, pay-go funding, and debt financings. More information about the CIP process and funding can be found here: 

Community Conversations

The City of Durham and the selected Candidate will plan and facilitate community engagement activities to encourage public input and participation in the archival project.  The selected Candidates will be expected to host, facilitate, and participate in community and staff engagement activities before finalizing their designs to gather feedback from residents living in the respective City Council Ward where the Fire & EMS Station will be located.  

The Public Historian and Photographer will capture living history as a part of the community engagement efforts, which may include written documentation by Fire & EMS staff and Durham residents who have experiences with the Fire Department.    

Proposed Timeline

August 16, 2021: RFQ promotion/informing     
September 20, 2021: RFQ Deadline  
October 4, 2021: City to notify Candidates of decision    
October 8, 2021: City and Candidates to enter into contract    
October 11 - January 3, 2022: Design Development and Stakeholders engagement
January 7, 2022: Final Designs shared with the Stakeholders
(January 19, 2022: Public Art Committee’s meeting. Recommendation of approval.)
February 4, 2022:  Candidates submit Final Designs to City for final approval
February - April 2022: Develop & provide digital content
April/May 2022: Fabrications & Installation
May/June 2022: Digital Content shared with community  



Fire & Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Station 18
6919 Herndon Road
Durham, NC 27713

Historian & Photographer Selection Process

The Fire & EMS Station 18 public art project will use a Request for Qualification (RFQ) application process. The RFQ process opens on Monday, August 16, 2021. The Public Historian and Photographer shall submit a RFQ as a team. Submissions must be received by Monday, September 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST via email to Rebecca Brown ( with the subject line "Public ArtRFQ: Fire & EMS Station 18”. 

For full details on the RFQ requirements and submission process, please read the RFQ document located here: Fire and EMS Station 18 - Public Art RFQ

Fire & EMS Station RFQ Opens in new window

From the pool of RFQ applicants, a panel of community members, historians, artists, and City staff reviewed the artists' applications and select the historian and photographer.


The Public Historian and Photographer team will have a total public art project budget of $47,000. The City will pay the Public Historian and Photographer team $25,000 to complete the public art project, including artist-design, community engagement, fabrication, and documentation of the artwork on site, with an additional $18,000 for digital content, community engagement activities, and printing, framing and installation. A maximum budget of $4,000 will be allocated for a youth mentee(s) component (18 or older), that will collaboratively be selected by the City and the Candidates.  


For information about the public art project, please contact the Cultural & Public Art Program staff here: 

Alexandra Benson
Cultural & Public Arts Program Assistant
Phone: 919-560-4197, ext. 21238

Rebecca Brown
Cultural & Public Arts Program Manager
Phone: 919-560-4197, ext. 21245