Community Arts & Culture

Downtown Art Program, previous projects

The purpose of The Downtown Art Program is to enhance and benefit the experience of downtown Chapel Hill for visitors, residents and businesses through public and cultural arts.  Local artists and organizations with downtown ties and interests apply to the program, are recommended for commission by a selection committee, and work with the Town and downtown partners to conduct projects in downtown Chapel Hill. 

The program considers all media and art forms, including but not limited to performances, installations, events, and cultural or educational programming.  Proposed projects may temporarily or permanently enhance or enliven the downtown Chapel Hill environment; entertain or educate those who live, work or play there; or otherwise create an aesthetic, exciting, and/or culturally edifying experience of downtown.

Explore_largeFloraffiti was a five month long placemaking and community engagement project for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Throughout February and March of 2017, artist Carter Hubbard and Josephus Thompson of The Poetry Project worked with several local teen and adult community groups to write poetry.  Each poet then chose a single word that embodied the essence of their poem and planted their word using red clover in flower beds throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  Floraffiti served the local community by combining unique ways to present and digest information, by responding to the environment and by embodying local stories. In total, 45 word and phrases weren planted to celebrate April as National Poetry Month. To learn more about Floraffiti, watch this video created by Rebekah Joy Media.

Windows on Chapel Hill - A collaborative year-long project with the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership brought eye-catching pop-up art displays to downtown storefronts, promoted artists in our community and further established downtown Chapel Hill as a dynamic space for art.  Three storefront projects occurred during the spring of 2013 (below), and the Partnership continued organizing new Windows on Chapel Hill exhibits through 2014:

Photo by Alex Maness
1.  The Declaration Project by Stacey L. Kirby @ 419 West Franklin Street, Yates Motor Company Building.  Since 2007, artist Stacey L. Kirby has played the part of a Local Declarations Officer in The Declaration Project, her ongoing "performative interaction" with the public.  In her mobile vintage office space, Officer Kirby took participants on an interactive exploration of self-identity through the creation of a bureaucratic paper trail. Kirby asked visitors to take part in a handwritten assessment of their "personal belongings" -- these declarations cards were then archived and traveled with the project.

Parisol B
2.  Depiction by Parasol B @ Vimala’s Curryblossom Café, 431 West Franklin Street.  Depiction was an interactive installation that used multiple media ranging from the most traditional -- paint, canvas, photography -- to the newest of the new -- smartphones, geo-locational information, crowd-sourcing and the web. Viewers of the Depiction paintings used their smartphones to scan barcode paintings and then followed instructions to find a variety of sites within walking distance in downtown Chapel Hill.  At each site the viewer was given specific instructions, via barcode, to stage or compose a photo, using their smartphone, then submitted their photo to the resulting community-created photo collection.  Parasol B also gave two guided tours in the spring of 2013.

Franco3.  Everyday People by FRANCO @ Display Case in front of Walgreen’s, 108 East Franklin Street.  This installation explored race and equality by using illustrations of people’s faces of different complexion and gender with a happy and joyful expression. The complexion and gender of each face as well as background colors played a big part in offering the viewer that powerful message. The images convey a sense of pride and a state of harmony.  

Painted Voices participants

Painted Voices
- Led by the Sacrificial Poets, area high school students worked at the Street Scene Teen Center during the spring of 2013 and embarked on a multi/mixed-media exploration of intergenerational oral history story capturing and retelling.  During their interviews with the community the teens also learned about the ethics and responsibility of art, and the transformative power of storytelling through various artistic media.  A final presentation and exhibition of the projects was presented at the Teen Center in June of 2013.

1941 Curt Teich postcard

He's Not Here mural
- Chapel Hill artist and UNC-CH graduate Scott Nurkin painted a mural on the Rosemary Street side of local institution He's Not Here entitled 1941 Curt Teich Postcard.  Teich is famous for his series of postcards from various American cities, and Nurkin's mural is based on an actual postcard Teich created for Chapel Hill.  The mural is 40' wide by 30' tall and was painted between June and October of 2013.

Outdoor Photo Show Wallace Deck

Frank In Focus - A series of photography events was organized by the Frank Gallery and held downtown from September to December 2012 that included panel discussions, salons, presentations, coordinated exhibitions, a scavenger hunt, and an outdoor slide show night atop the Wallace Parking Deck on Rosemary Street.

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