Colorful public art will soon cover one parking garage in downtown Durham, and you can vote on five possible designs for a new garage, too.
The Corcoran Street garage was built in 1964 and is owned by the city. Five of 12 banners had been installed on the Ramseur Street side as of Monday afternoon. They are the work of Olalekan Jeyifous, also known as LEk, a Nigerian-born artist whose work has also been seen at the Coachella music and arts festival.
The art banners are a gift from the Durham Arts Council, which receives city funding, that the City Council approved in March. The work was funded by $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.
The six-level Corcoran Street garage, next to the railroad tracks and visible from the Durham Performing Arts Center, isn’t the only downtown garage getting big banners.
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More parking garage art
The city is in the middle of building a new parking garage at Mangum Street, Morgan Street and Rigsbee Avenue, near City Hall.
Anyone who lives or works in the Triangle can vote on which of five finalist artists will create the public-art design for the garage.
The five finalists, chosen from 34 applications, are:
Excerpt from artist statement: “I created the design to represent some of the things that downtown Durham has to offer. The images are meant to inspire the visitors and the locals to explore and experience the city.”
Excerpt from artist statement: “Locally, within the frame of each individual mural, a set of large scale arms and hands extend vertically. The central set of hands, almost transparent, symbolize those individuals whose voices have been marginalized, and define an imperative for their inclusion in this textile of connectivity.”
Excerpt from artist statement: “This vibrant, bold, and colorful set of banners is meant to attract passerby with a diverse, unifying message with a touch of Durham’s charm and its popular landmarks.”
Excerpt from artist statement: “When researching for design ideas, I was first interested in exploring the history of neighborhood that this new structure would be built on and near. With so many new buildings being erected in Durham at a mind-numbing pace, I felt it important to take stock of what has been and where we began as a city.”
Excerpt from artist statement: “Born and raised in Durham, I grew up witnessing the power the citizens of this city possess to alter their environments for positive change.”
Read their full artist statements and vote on which of the five designs you like best at durhamnc.gov/3676/Art-Banner-Design-Contest. The deadline to vote is Friday, July 27.
The winning design will be displayed on eight banners on the Mangum Street side of the garage. Each of the finalists received $500, and the artist chosen for the public art will receive $7,500.
The $23 million parking garage is scheduled to open in early 2019 and will have 667 parking spaces. There will be 15,600 feet of commericial and retail space on Mangum and Morgan streets along with the city’s parking offices.