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City of Durham News

Posted on: November 19, 2020

Durham Announces Winning Artists for Beechwood and Maplewood Cemeteries Public Art Amenities Project

Collage shows portraits of selected artists

Family members and friends with loved ones buried in two City of Durham cemeteries will soon have new public art amenities designed for contemplation and reflection now that three local metalworking artists have been selected for this project.

The City’s Cultural and Public Art Program, in collaboration with an Artist Selection Panel of community members, groundskeepers, and cemetery administrative staff, have selected Jose Pereira and the team of Jackie MacLeod and mentee Whitney Hunt from the Pre-Qualified Artist Registry to design and install public art amenities at Beechwood and Maplewood Cemeteries. 

Pereira is a Portuguese artist originally from the Azores Islands, who has been working with metal art in Durham for over 15 years. Pereira’s metalwork portfolio spans from blacksmithing, ornamental iron, structural steel, and stainless steel. He has over 30 years of experience in various metalworking projects ranging from public art, custom creations for private clients, and corporate custom metal work for entities like the UNC Cancer Center and Duke University Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Pereira will create art-informed handrails for Maplewood Cemetery for the space where ashes of deceased loved ones may be laid to rest.

The artist team of MacLeod and Hunt will design, fabricate, and install an art-informed bench for Beechwood Cemetery near the main entrance. MacLeod is the former board president of Liberty Arts Sculpture Studio and Foundry where she acted as a former administrator for the Bull City Sculpture Show. As a metal artist, MacLeod has completed indoor and outdoor commissions in residential, retail, and commercial settings. Hunt is a self-taught artist with experience in wood, acrylic, ceramic, charcoal drawings, graphic design, pyrography, epoxy, and glass. 

The budget for both site locations will be $7,500 for Pereira and $7,500 for the artist team of MacLeod and Hunt to create and fabricate their artworks. The artists will also host, facilitate, and participate in community engagement activities before finalizing their designs to gather feedback from residents with affiliations to Beechwood and Maplewood Cemeteries. The new public art amenities at both cemeteries will be installed by late spring 2021. 

The City established Maplewood Cemetery in 1872, and Beechwood Cemetery in 1924. Maplewood Cemetery is located at 1621 Duke University Rd., and Beechwood Cemetery is located at 3300 Fayetteville St. Both cemeteries offer burial options for traditional, full burials as well as cremations. This project to provide public art amenities for Beechwood and Maplewood Cemeteries is funded through the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP). The type of public art amenities selected were based on the needs of both cemeteries collected through on-site City staff feedback as well as feedback from residents and visitors submitted in an online survey earlier this fall. 

For more information, visit the project website or contact Cultural and Public Art Program Manager Rebecca Brown with the City’s General Services Department at (912) 398-8075 or by email.

About the City of Durham Public Art Committee

The Public Art Committee serves as an advisory body to the Durham City Council and the City Manager, and its functions include assisting the City's General Services Department on matters relating to public art; implementation of the Public Art Policy; and reviewing proposals for public art projects brought to it by the City administration; and making recommendations to the Durham Cultural Advisory Board regarding project approvals. To further help artists connect with opportunities, the City has also launched a Durham Calls for Artists page on its website, which lists a number of upcoming opportunities for artists in and around Durham. Artists and other stakeholders who would like to be notified of current and future art-related opportunities and news can now sign up for alerts through the Cultural and Public Arts Calls for Art mailing list. For more information about the City’s Cultural and Public Arts Program, visit the City’s cultural and public arts page. Artists and residents interested in more information about the Cultural and Public Arts program may also contact Division Manager Stacey Poston with the City’s General Services Department at (919) 560-4197, ext. 21254 or by email.

About the City of Durham General Services Department

The General Services Department builds and maintains City properties to make Durham a great place for people to live, work, and play. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department’s core functions include the acquisition and sale of properties, design and management of new construction and renovation projects, building maintenance, landscaping and urban forestry services, cemeteries management, sustainability and energy management, and supporting the nonprofit Keep Durham Beautiful

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