Sculptures coming to Durham Central Park

Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:48 AM

In May 2014, the Durham Central Park area will be the site of as many as 12 large-scale sculptures made by artists from all over the United States. Liberty Arts, Durham’s nonprofit metal sculpture organization, will issue a call to artists at two events today and Saturday.

The Bull City Sculpture Show will open in May and feature anywhere from 8 to 12 sculptures, said Michael Waller, facilities manager for Liberty Arts. An independent juror will choose the sculptures that will be shown. One of the sculptures will receive a purchase award, and will be permanently displayed in Durham. Another people’s choice sculpture will remain on view for a year.
Liberty Arts has been planning the sculpture show for some time. “We were talking about doing this before the roof collapsed,” Waller said, referring to the collapse of part of the roof at Liberty Warehouse, the former home of Liberty Arts. Artists who work at the organization say the time is now for Durham to look seriously at what large public sculptures can do for the landscape. “We have all these pieces of the puzzle,” Waller said, mentioning local food, music and sports. “One of the key things we don’t have are large-scale pieces of public art. We want to be the initiators of that.”
“Now we’re ready,” said Jackie MacLeod, an artist and president of the Liberty Arts board of directors, who said she has had good response to the sculpture show already, even before the official announcement. “If you look at what’s happening in Durham, we’re on the cusp. … We have a huge artistic community here.” 
Liberty Arts has raised some money for the show and received a donation of rooms to house the artists from Duke Tower hotel, Waller said. The organization wants to raise as much as $60,000, primarily to give all the artists whose work is chosen a stipend, he said. The artist whose work is chosen for the purchase prize will receive $15,000. Every artist will get a stipend.
Artists from Liberty Arts are not eligible: The organization will act as the administrator for the show, Waller said.
The show also will include public receptions for the artists, and a mentoring program for students and artists, who will “shadow” Liberty Arts members as they set up the Bull City Sculpture Show. The artists also will give talks and symposiums about their work.
“This is a show to celebrate the artists,” said Timothy Werrell, an artist with Liberty Arts. The educational component “is what we hope makes us different from every other sculpture show in the area,” he said.
Werrell’s recently completed sculpture “Rotunda” will be on view Saturday at the Farmers’ Market during the announcement. It is a shiny piece of manipulated steel, with a brushed finish, an example of the scale of sculpture Liberty Arts is seeking to attract with this show.


Go and Do
WHAT: Announcement of the Bull City Sculpture Show
WHERE: Today, 6 to 9 p.m., Liberty Arts, Cordoba Center for the Arts, 923 Franklin St., Durham; and Saturday, 10 a.m., Durham Farmers’ Market, Durham Central Park
ALSO: Leigh Hayes’ sculpture “Rings of Fire” will be unveiled today at 7:30 at Liberty Arts. For information, visit