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 Office 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. To see previous projects click here.
Florafitti is a five month long placemaking and community engagement project for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Throughout Februrary and March 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. Florafitti serves 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 have been planted to celebrate April as National Poetry Month. To learn more about Florafitti, watch this video. Video credited to Rebekah Joy Media.
Artistic Crosswalks were installed in late 2016 and early 2017 at three locations in downtown Chapel Hill with the goal of enhancing the walkable nature of the town. Three artists were commissioned and tasked with incorporating the history and culture of Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle with that of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Be on the look out for two additional crosswalks that will be installed in the coming year!
Rachel Herrick's piece is located at the intersection of Cameron Avenue and Wilson Street and depicts one of the most iconic symbols of UNC-CH, the Old Well. She chose to depict the Old Well because of its iconic history to the school and surrounding area. Click here to visit her website to further explore her work.
Mary Carter Taub's artwork is located at the intersection of East Rosemary and Henderson. The lines are intended to replicate UPC barcodes with pedestrians "scanning" the UPC barcode as they walk across so as to mimic a real-life barcode. The UPC barcode has local roots in the surrounding Triangle as it was invented in the 1970's by IBM in Raleigh's Research Triangle Park. Click here to visit her website to further explore her work.
Lope Max Diaz's work is located across from Shortbread Lofts on West Rosemary Street. His design incorporates minimalist geometric patterns with colors and iconographic symbols of Chapel Hill and the University. If you look closely, the design abstractly spells out "walk." Click here to visit his website to further explore his work.
Mobile Mural is a highly colorful, super-sized artwork that has covered an in-service Chapel Hill Transit bus since 2013. The bus wrap design is a map mash-up of Town bus routes and road mark patterns such as yellow lanes and pedestrian crosswalk zebra stripes. Embedded in transit, Mobile Mural is a public artwork that combines “form and function” by blurring the boundary between art and everyday life.
Mobile Mural is designed by Chapel Hill artist Mary Carter Taub. She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Thunderbird, School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ in 2001. Since the 1990s, Mary has worked as an artist, mostly in New York City and San Francisco, until relocating in 2008 to Chapel Hill. She has exhibited nationally in traditional spaces such as the Islip Art Museum and PS 122 Gallery and non-traditional spaces such as a moving truck and an elevator, both of which housed her site-specific installations. In 2012, Mary built temporary site-specific installations made of thousands of feet of tape and vinyl at the 92 Street Y in New York, NY and Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, NC. Photograph by Nicholas Pironio.