Durham

Durham SmART garage wrap close up of hands
Close-up of Durham SmART project's garage wrap

Summary

To create a vibrant Arts and Entertainment District along the north-south corridor of downtown Durham.


Partners

Durham Arts Council
City of Durham
Durham Downtown, Inc. (DDI)


The Durham community selected Mikyoung Kim to re-imagine the rapidly transforming north south corridor of Blackwell/Corcoran/Foster streets as a vibrant Arts & Entertainment District that reflects the unique character of Durham. Developers are making several hundred million dollars of investment in commercial, retail, residential, hotel, and technology-based construction along the corridor. 

Durham's SmART Vision Plan focuses on art components that address barriers to walkability and connectivity including railroad tracks, drab facades, and lack of lighting and signage. The first project of the Durham SmART Initiative is a series of vibrant banners designed by Olalekan Jeyifous that hang on a garage facade to encourage pedestrians to cross the railroad tracks and explore Durham’s vibrant downtown.


SmART Durham before and after
Durham SmART project rendering (top), the Corcoran Street garage prior to the project (bottom)

SmART Durham project artist Lek Jeyifous
Artist Lek Jeyifous


Art parade crowd at the Durham SmART dedication
Art Parade at the Durham SmART project dedication

Accomplishments
 

  • The Durham Arts Council received a $100,000 NEA Our Town grant to support Durham’s garage banners project.  
     
  • Three new hotels have opened on the corridor including 21C Museum Hotel, which has agreed to provide artwork and support for enlivening the Central Plaza.
     
  • More than $250,000 has been raised from the City, DDI, Duke University and private developers to support the development and implementation of the plan.

Artist Lek Jeyifous' Durham SmART proposal
Artist Lek Jeyifous' Durham SmART proposal