Duke Performances, Museum of Durham History awarded Building Bridges Grants

The Museum of Durham History (pictured) and Duke Performances have received Building Bridges Grants from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
The Museum of Durham History (pictured) and Duke Performances have received Building Bridges Grants from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. The Herald-Sun

Duke Performances and the Museum of Durham History are among 11 recipients of Building Bridges Grants given annually by The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Duke Performances, working in partnership with the Duke Center for Islamic Studies (DISC) and the Duke Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC), will receive $125,000 to support a multi-year initiative titled “Southern Hospitality: Muslim Arts & Music as Cultural Bridge-Making in the American South.”

The project seeks to showcase the richness and diversity of Muslim culture through five weeklong residencies and culminating in performances by U.S. Muslim artists. In addition to their engagement with the Duke community, participating artists will visit nearby high schools, both in Durham and in rural communities surrounding the city, to share their art and promote awareness of their cultural traditions.

Duke Performances’ Executive Director Aaron Greenwald said of the award: “The project allows Duke Performances to engage audiences on campus and in Durham, as well as in nearby rural areas, bringing these communities into contact with world-class artists and fostering greater understanding of Muslim culture. It also aligns with the aims of our partners, supporting DISC’s mission to engage in interdisciplinary teaching and learning about Muslims as well as DUMESC’s goals of promoting teaching and research about Middle Eastern societies among American audiences.”

The Museum of Durham History received an award of $25,000 to collaborate with current and former members of Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center to develop an educational exhibition on one of the oldest Muslim communities in North Carolina. Over the course of a year, this project will explore the history of Ar-Razzaq and its economic, political, and cultural impact on Durham and the state of North Carolina. It will culminate in an exhibition slated for early 2018.

Ar-Razzaq (formerly Muhammad’s Mosque #34) was founded in Durham in the 1950s under the local leadership of Imam Kenneth Muhammad. Members of Ar-Razzaq established or strengthened other Muslim communities across the state, including those in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Kinston and Greenville.

Interim Director Patrick Mucklow says this project puts the museum’s mission and values into action: “We believe that history is relevant to understanding Durham today. Our task is particularly timely in light of the divisions in our country. We are honored to partner with Ar-Razzaq and DDFIA to do this project.”

Since 2013, the Building Bridges Program’s annual competition has awarded 36 U.S. nonprofit organizations with over $6.4 million in grants to support planning and implementation of creative arts and media-based programs advancing relationships between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

“Duke Performances and the Museum of Durham History are crafting programs that illustrate how Muslims have enriched — and will continue to enrich — the Durham area,” said Zeyba Rahman, senior program officer for the Building Bridges Program. “We are excited to support both organizations as they celebrate the artistic, cultural, and economic contributions of Muslims in all their breadth and depth. We are confident that, in doing so, they will strengthen relationships and intercultural awareness in Durham and the surrounding region.”

For a complete listing of projects awarded Building Bridges Program grant support, visit the Foundation’s website at

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1