Durham Central Park is a 5-acre city-owned park located in the heart of Downtown Durham. The park is managed, developed and programmed by Durham Central Park, Inc. a 501c3 non-profit organization. This is a preview of our 2020 Calendar of Events. ALL free and open to the public.
Providing Space for Community.
Durham Central Park is a place filled with natural beauty and man-made wonders. Yet, in a way, it is also a blank canvas—an empty stage ready to be the setting for your story.
Our mission is providing space for community, which means a number of things including:
Continuing to maintain and improve an already amazing urban park;
Working hard to ensure that the park is accessible to everyone;
Hosting enjoyable, free events to enliven the park and enrich the community;
Offering an affordable and attractive venue in the heart of downtown; and
Safeguarding a place for people to gather in celebration or rally around a shared belief, meet up with friends or just be alone for a moment, appreciate public art or simply play in nature—a place for Durham to be Durham.
A vibrant, urban park where everyone feels welcome.
Durham Central Park is located in the 500 block of Foster Street (both sides of the street) between Corporation and Hunt Streets. To find it with GPS, use 501 Foster Street, Durham NC 27701.
Durham Central Park is open every day from dawn to dusk. All visitors and members of the community are welcome to visit and enjoy our gardens, facilities and the great outdoors in the heart of our lovely city.
Can you imagine Durham without Durham Central Park?
Two decades ago, the Park was an audacious proposition. Today, it is a destination, a gathering space, a community center, a beloved constant in an ever-changing city. Every week, thousands of people visit Durham Central Park for a myriad of reasons; fresh food, entertainment, exercise, recreation, relaxation, or as a meeting place. No matter how you interact with the Park, you have likely noticed that it serves many purposes and transforms seamlessly from one event or activity to the next. The Park provides a space for creativity in our community and plays a key role in shaping the culture and identity of Durham.
Durham Central Park is managed, developed and programmed by DCP, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Though the land is owned by the city, DCP, Inc. receives no public funding to operate the park. Every year, we rely on the generosity of donors, like you, to keep this park fun, functional, and beautiful for every Durham resident and visitor to enjoy. Can you pitch in during this giving season to help us reach our goal of $50,000 for our general operating fund and build a solid foundation for the new year? Here’s how: https://durhamcentralpark.org/donate/
Durham, NC— Three vibrant Art-Deco inspired pedestrian crosswalk designs will be installed on Downtown Durham’s Blackwell, Corcoran and Foster Streets on November 19 – 21, 2019. The ground plane art is the third major project of the Durham SmART Vision Plan — connecting the cultural hubs/districts in downtown Durham through creative placemaking. Local artist Mary Carter Taub designed the Pedestrian Crosswalk installations for three locations: American Tobacco Campus at Blackwell/Vivian St., Durham Armory to Marriott/Convention Center on Foster Street; and Durham Central Park at the Farmers’ Market crossing on Foster Street. The design will be professionally applied with a specialized colored resin including non-skid aggregate in eight bright colors.
A public dedication of the Crosswalks will take place on Saturday, November 23, from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon adjacent to the crosswalk in Durham Central Park, 501 Foster Street. Artist Mary Carter Taub will be on hand to lead visitors in a free participatory “cross chalking” art project on the street. For more information, visit www.smartdurham.org.
Artist Mary Carter Taub states: “The pedestrian crosswalks are a freewheeling riff loosely inspired by Memphis design, a blend of Art Deco and Pop art, blending geometric shapes found in downtown Durham’s local Art Deco architecture with an ‘80s palette bursting with color. The crosswalks are titled Snapping!, Crackling!, and Popping! inspired by the Rice Krispies cereal characters Snap, Crackle and Pop who were created in the ‘30s, and – fast forward to the 1980s – weighed heavily in my rotation of childhood breakfast cereals. Snapping! is the American Tobacco Campus -DPAC crosswalk, Crackling! is the Armory/Marriott crosswalk and Popping! appears as the Durham Central Park crosswalk.”(See images of the designs below)
The Durham SmART Vision Plan focuses on transforming the North/South Corridor of Blackwell/Corcoran/Foster Streets through creative placemaking. The plan, created with internationally renowned urban designer and public artist Mikyoung Kim, is a multi-year, $10 million public art and urban design strategy for Durham. The North Carolina Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Durham Arts Council, City of Durham, Durham County, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Downtown Durham, Inc., Duke University, Nasher Museum of Art, and a local SmART Resource Team of key stakeholders and arts professionals are partners in planning and implementing the public art projects and place-making strategies along the SmART corridor.
DURHAM SmART PROGRAM
Durham is one of four pilot communities chosen to be part of the North Carolina Arts Council’s SmART Program, which supports arts-driven economic development projects. Since 2012, the N.C. Arts Council has provided staff resources, public art consultants and significant funds to create a plan for downtown Durham’s Blackwell, Corcoran and Foster Street corridor. The plan connects three distinct city districts along the corridor – American Tobacco, City Center and Durham Central Park respectively, and includes projects for improving pedestrian access and artfully-designed public spaces to support greater participation for residents and visitors in the rapidly transforming corridor.
The first project, the Corcoran Street Garage Art Wrap, was designed by public artist Olalekan Jeyifous. “Durham in Continuum” was completed in summer 2018, and was recognized as one of the 50 outstanding public art projects in 2018 by the Public Art Network of the Americans for the Arts.
Noa Younse and Jennifer Hiser were selected to create a second public art installation along the Durham SmART corridor titled “A Story Goes On” which is an interactive pixel wall mural in Durham Central Park. The Pedestrian Crosswalk Art is the third and current Durham SmART Vision Plan project.
Durham SmART Funding Partners for the Ground Plane – Pedestrian Crosswalks
Funding partners for the SmART Pedestrian Crosswalks include the National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works” grant, the North Carolina Arts Council, Durham Arts Council (lead local agency), the City of Durham, Capitol Broadcasting Company/American Tobacco District; Downtown Durham, Inc., Durham County; plus technical support from Durham Area Designers, and Discover Durham, and additional public/private partners. For more information, visit www.smartdurham.org
About the Artist Mary Carter Taub
Artist Mary Carter Taub was selected for the Crosswalk project from among 27 artist applicants in the Triangle area. She conducted extensive research on the history and landscape of the downtown Durham corridor and its architecture and landscape as part of her design process. She also engaged with more than 130 community members at public events to gain feedback and inspiration for the crosswalks.
Mary Carter Taub received her MBA from the School of Global Management, Arizona State University; an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY; and a BA from Meredith College, NC. She has been selected for numerous public art projects including the Master Planning Team for new neighborhood parks in Cary, NC; Fort Worth, TX Public Art program; San Francisco Arts Commission Bay Area Discovery Museum; Nashville International Airport; Iowa Art in State Buildings Program; Scottsdale, AZ Public Art Program; the North Carolina Arts Council Mary B. Regan Community Artist grant; Piedmont Triad International Airport; City of Raleigh; Town of Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill Transit, and four projects for the Orange County Arts Commission. She has also been artist in residence at Glassmalerei Peters (Peters Studio), Paderborn, Germany; Parsons School of Design, La Romana, Dominican Republic; University of Wisconsin; and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine. For more information, visit www.marycartertaub.com
Artist Concept Inspiration
The crosswalk designs are informed by shapes, patterns and compositional elements found in several local Art Deco buildings such as the Hill building (Sun Trust/ 21c), NC Mutual Life building and the Kress building. The decision to use a brightly colored palette was validated at a community engagement event on June 8, 2019 at the Durham Central Park Farmers’ Market; the consistent feedback was to use colors, “the brighter, the better,” and to “give life to dead intersections,” and raise safety awareness where “folks don’t know the drill for traffic patterns and pedestrian flow.” The artist created designs to visually shake up the status quo.
Crosswalk Designs are inspired by iconic buildings in downtown Durham
Hill Building 1937 KRESS Building 1933 NC MUTUAL LIFE Building left: original location 1921
Liberty Arts Studios & Foundry and Durham Central Park present their 4th annual public Iron Pour at Durham Central Park, Saturday, November 16 from 4-9 p.m. All evening and into the night, 4,000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display creating the iron tiles made by the public and sculptures made by NC artists. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, Liberty Arts T-shirts, beer glasses and hand-blown glass pumpkins. Come enjoy drumming performances from Batalá Durham, local food trucks and craft beer while watching this very creative and gritty Durhamesque event.
You can really get involved by creating your own scratch block in an upcoming workshop. Scratch a design into hardened sand and watch it get filled with molten iron. The result is an iron tile created by YOU. The cost is $40 per mold. You will be able to take home your iron tile from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday the 17th at the Liberty Arts Foundry at the park, across Foster Street from the pour site.
We’ve got everything you need. Just bring your imagination and get ready to have some fun. Admission to the Iron Pour is free. Blankets and folding chairs welcome. Food trucks and breweries will serve from 4-9 p.m. To kick off the event, Batala will perform 2 sets between 4 and 6 pm. Scheduled food trucks/brewers include Poblanos Tacos, Bulkogi, Bull City Burger and Brewery and Ponysaurus. For more information, visit www.durhamcentralpark.org. You can sign up for a scratch block workshop online at www.libertyartsnc.org/classes. Have questions? Contact Liberty Arts at [email protected] or call (919) 294-8006.
Liberty Arts Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization is a combination of artist studios on Pearl St and a foundry on Foster Street.
The foundry was created to bring awareness of and access to public art into the heart of Durham.
Durham Central Park is the five-acre downtown oasis on Foster Street. DCP is a city-owned park that is managed and developed by Durham Central Park, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.
We’ve always admired the wordless segment at the end of CBS Sunday Morning. With that as our inspiration, we hope to inspire you. Here is our summer, in a video and few photographs, including many from our PLAYlist Concert Series, which wrapped up September 20. Durham, and all our new friends around the world, you are so beautiful and appreciated. Look at this heart-warming UNC-TV feature, filmed on location during our Ricardo Diquez w/ StArt of Cool concert June 28:
Durham Central Park is a 5-acre city park that is managed, developed, and programmed by Durham Central Park, Inc. a 501c3 non-profit organization. You can support DCP, Inc.’s work by making a one-time or sustaining donation. You can also pick up a DCP t-shirt pick one up at Durham Central Park booth during the Durham Farmers’ Market or the Food Truck Rodeo this weekend. And, by linking your Amazon Smile Account before you shop. DCP can earn 0.5% of your purchases.
It is a series of parties and event from September to November that DCP enthusiasts host at their home, restaurant or other venues. The parties have different themes, prices, and numbers of attendees. All the parties are donated by the hosts and the ticket sales go straight to DCP, Inc.
Who gets the money from the Parties for the Park ticket sales?
All of the money from the ticket sales goes directly to Durham Central Park, Inc.
What is the money used for?
The funds raised through Parties for the Park make up about 1/3 of DCP Inc.’s annual operating budget. The money pays for DCP staff, maintenance and improvements of park structures, free programming and special projects.
What are this year’s special projects?
In 2020, we will focus our efforts on re-making the Sister Cities Grove (the area north of the Pavilion). That area has been in flux for the past 2 years with recent construction and city waterline upgrades. To make this area of the park comfortable and welcoming, we will be installing new trees, new benches & tables and updated signage. In 2020, we will also be installing plantings in the newly built terraced planting beds behind the Pavilion. In addition to supporting DCP’s operating funds, money raised through the 2019 Parties for the Park will support these special projects.
Is my ticket considered a tax-deductible donation?
No. The laws surrounding this are complex. We work with the hosts to price the events close to fair market value. We will continue to explore this and may be able to change it in the future.
What is the processing fee?
In order to use ticket processing services, like Eventbrite, there are fees associated with safe processing of information. Since these events are fundraisers for DCP, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization, we truly appreciate your support in paying the processing fees in order to ensure that the funds from the ticket sales are used to support the operation, programming, and improvement of Durham Central Park!
Do I need a physical ticket for the events that I’ll be attending?
No. When you purchase your tickets through Eventbrite, your name will be added to the guest list. All of the hosts will have the guest lists and will welcome you when you arrive.
After I purchase my tickets, will I be sent any additional information?
Yes. The week of the event, we’ll send you additional info about your event, where to park, how to get there, and any other pertinent information that you may need to easily and successfully get to your event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Erin at [email protected]
Who do I contact if I have questions about the event?
Please feel free to get in touch with Erin Kauffman, Durham Central Park’s Executive Director. She can be reached at 919-794-8194 or [email protected]
Can I host a Party for the Park next year?
Absolutely! If you are interested in learning more about hosting, please get in touch with Lee Ann Tilley, the Parties for the Park Chair at [email protected]
In collaboration with Blue Heron and the City of Durham’s Cultural and Public Art Program, Durham Central Park encourages Durham artists and artist teams to submit portfolios to be considered for our new public art project overlooking the park. This fall, a mural will be installed along four brick panels of the new apartment building adjacent to the park, Foster on the Park. The panels will be positioned to the north of The Pavilion, home of the Durham Farmers Market.
A few things for artists to consider:
The brick panels vary a bit in size, but are roughly 14’ wide and 20-25’ tall
Community engagement to develop a theme will occur during September
Fabrication will take place during October
The total project budget is $13,000
If you or someone you know is experienced in producing public art and excited to contribute to the beautification of Durham Central Park, please submit your portfolio to the City’s Pre-Qualified Artists Registry via Café.
The portfolio application requests the following information:
Artist statement (a brief description of experience, discipline(s) and qualifications for completing artworks)
Portfolio (five images)
The deadline for consideration is Sunday, August 18 at 11:59 p.m. In addition to being considered for this project, registering for the City’s pre-qualified list makes you eligible for consideration for all other City-issued public art calls.
We are excited to collaborate with a Durham artist to further the vision of creating a vibrant, beautiful and welcoming park! For more information, please contact Alex Benson at [email protected] or 919-560-4197 x21238.
This summer, if you specify your gift to support PLAYlist and our free programming, gifts of $50 or more will receive a PLAYlist t-shirt (see photo below– a variety of colors are available) and $10 voucher for food during the concerts. Gifts of $250 or more will receive the PLAYlist t-shirt, a $20 voucher for food during the concerts, and a pair of tickets to our fall fundraiser Trucks for the Park!
This is our third year presenting PLAYlist and tonight we welcomed Grammy award-winning artist Van Hunt to our stage! We offer the PLAYlist Concert Series to the community free of charge, family-friendly and welcoming to all. The concerts are every other Friday evening through September 20. Local food trucks and craft beer vendors will begin to serve at 6 p.m. and the music will start at 7 pm. We certainly hope that you can join us for the fun! For more information about the series, visit durhamplaylist.org.
Offering free, welcoming and inclusive programming is integral to Durham Central Park’s mission of Providing Space for Community. In addition to PLAYlist, our programming includes the Children’s Independence Day Parade and Food Truck Rodeos. We also partner with other local groups to provide free, fun activities at the park. Every Saturday morning, Blue Point Yoga offers yoga classes (at no charge!) and every November, we collaborate with Liberty Arts on the annual Iron Pour.
Over the past 20 years, DCP has become a unique activity hub downtown. It’s a beloved community gathering space and some see it as a “sacred” place in the heart of Durham. Why? Because Durham residents and businesses have made an investment in creating, building and sustaining this wonderful urban oasis. None of this would be happening today without supporters like you.
As the non-profit that manages and programs the park, DCP, Inc. relies on your financial support. If you love our free programming or just the feeling that you get when visiting the park, please make a secure one time or sustaining donation on our website at durhamcentralpark.org/donateor mail a check to: Durham Central Park, PO Box 1526, Durham NC 27702.
“Inspired by the music of The Delfonics, Parliament-Funkadelic, Pink Floyd and Billie Holiday, Hunt chronicles love, loss, and nostalgia through the sounds of original funk and old soul. He achieves the kind of heated, raw sound that has virtually disappeared in to much of today’s overly-manicured R&B and Hunt never loses sight of the past as he progressively forges his own way forward” –The Boston Globe. VAN HUNTheadlines PLAYlist, Durham Central Park’s free, annual concert series Friday, July 12, 7 p.m.
A Dayton, Ohio-born musician, Hunt made his way to Atlanta where he drew acclaim for his production efforts and crafty songwriting, featured on recordings by such diverse artists as Dionne Farris and Rahsaan Patterson, as well as the platinum-selling soundtrack, Love Jones. 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of his own self-titled debut album.
It instantly established Hunt as a distinctive and original talent with its idiosyncratic melding of R&B, soul, funk, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll. Hunt received a 2005 “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” Grammy nomination for his breakthrough hit single, Dust featured on that album.
Parking is free in the lot beside Durham Central Park, and there are metered spaces along Foster Street which change to free parking meters after 7 p.m.
Picnics, blankets and folding chairs are welcome. Local food trucks and craft beer vendors will be on site serving at 6 p.m. There are restrooms at Durham Central Park and the venue is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit https://durhamplaylist.com/
Have you been wondering what’s going on inside the loop sidewalk near the pixel wall and the skatepark? Well, we are growing grass!!
This area is named the Great Lawn, but for the past couple of years, it has been a little less than great. Here is the back story.
Before the Park
On the site of the Great Lawn area, there once stood a tobacco auction warehouses Mangum 1 & 2. These warehouses were similar in size and use to the former Liberty Warehouse. It was demolished in the 80s, but all kinds of pieces of the warehouse were left in the field- concrete, glass, nails, wood beams, various metal, and even artifacts like an old fashioned cash register and the base of a blender.
In the 1990s, the idea of building a downtown park came together and by 1999, Durham Central Park was established. In every iteration of the master plan for the park, it was envisioned that there would be a loop sidewalk on the east side of the park. But, raising money to build a sidewalk not an easy task, so building that sidewalk remained a dream for the future.
Loop Side Walk Built
In 2016, the builders and developers of Liberty Warehouse Apartments very generously built the loop sidewalk that serves as an accessible link between Rigsbee and Foster streets. They had a need for a sidewalk per the city ordinances and we had a sidewalk that we wanted built. It was a win-win situation. There were several months that year when the east side of the park was closed for construction. At the end, grass was planted in the center for the “Great Lawn”, but the new grass just never took root.
Second Try for Grass
Once we realized that our new lawn was not taking off, our organization started working through various plans, timelines and budgets for getting the grass on our Great Lawn re-established. Late last winter, we received very generous donations from both the developer (East West Partners) and builder (Clancy-Theys) of Liberty Warehouse Apartments. With funding secured, we were able to pull together a workable plan to get the grass re-established.
As with many projects at Durham Central Park, it has been a team effort! First, we had to start by getting all of the rocks and various debris that was all through the lawn area dig up and moved out. On the first Saturday in April of this year, 35 volunteers came to the park ready to dig! We excavated tons of rocks and concrete and have found uses for them around the park.
Once the big stuff was out, our friends at Durham Parks and Rec started to rough up the ground by tilling and aggressively aerating. In the process they found even more rocks and concrete! After a few frustrating rain delays, we hired TROSA to come in and remove the rest of the gravel and add 84 yards of topsoil. Then, almost one month after we started, grass seed and fertilizer were finally sown.
We have BABY GRASS!!
Since the grass was planted, we’ve barely gotten any rain. So, DCP employees, Bryce and Erin, have been diligently keeping the area watered. Our new neighbors at Liberty Warehouse Apartments have generously donated access to their water to help get the grass established. We are so thankful to have such generous neighbors!
The baby grass has slowly been emerging and spreading. We nearly have a fully green hillside. Many have asked what was planted, with the sage advice of Durham Park and Rec and George Davis from Stone Brothers & Byrd, the decision was made to plant common Bermuda. It’s a warm season grass that can take a lot of foot traffic. The lawn won’t be open for at least another month, but we are looking forward to having a newly established grassy area for people to play on and enjoy!