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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Durham Holiday Art Walk 

Matt Zigler installing in the windows of Coulter, Jewell, Thames PA, at #111 W. Main Street, Durham

Photo credit and layout by Cady Childs

Durham’s annual holiday Art Walk, sponsored by the Durham Arts Council, strikes the streets of downtown this weekend with a fresh new look.

Thursday (November 17th) a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m., marks the highly anticipated official re-opening of Carolina Theater and the Durham Arts Council (DAC) building after a multi-year renovation and kicks off a weekend celebrating the arts and the revitalized, vibrant downtown of Durham.

“These renovations are beneficial to the council, the theater, the city, and of course, artists, all at one time,” Margaret DeMott, an institution at the DAC, said. “It’s a great, fulfilling, collaborating process.”

New additions to this year’s Art Walk include twenty-two installations and displays in the windows of bustling downtown Durham, in business storefronts such as Scratch bakery, Coulter, Jewell, Thames PA, and Center Studio Architecture, as well as in under-utilized spaces, such as the former Bargain Furniture building. Many of the displays are built from materials provided by Durham’s Scrap Exchange and Jerry's Artarama, as a part of what is being billed as the Durham Storefront Project, an independent group of artists and art supporters organized specifically for this project.

Musical performances will be happening all day Saturday and Sunday along the Art Walk route, with performances by among many, many others, Rebecca and the Hi Tones and the Willie Painter Band.

The result, amazing free public art, shows what happens when organizations like the DAC, the Art Institute, the North Carolina Songwriter’s Co-Op, Vega metals, and more come together to put together an event of this magnitude. New venues and cool spaces abound in downtown Durham these days. The entrepreneurs that are flocking to Durham in droves love that their community puts art at their fingertips and in their footsteps. Art builds community and brings people back to the revitalized downtown loop. It is just one more example of how when Durham comes together, it is better than ever.

“We are interested in what new partnerships and components we can create,” Sherry Devries, director of the DAC, said. “There are so many entities in this town, it makes it a good time for revising and adding.”

DeVries also noted that more than 6,600 jobs in Durham are classified as highly creative and even during this time of economic stagnation and recession these jobs have increased by 10%.

With over forty-seven locations involved, 200 artists, an entire day of music, and everything else now happening in downtown, the Durham Art Walk is certainly something that you won’t want to miss. Spend a day and you will know why Durham’s reputation as national center for arts and music is being noted near and far. The event kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. till 5 p.m., and continues Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the Durham Art walk website here for a complete list of venues, entertainment, and sponsors.

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