Reflections-A Community Portrait of Durham-One Year Later

See. Listen. Love.
When I walk the streets of Durham, I see people, businesses, and even empty spaces that hold personal meaning to me.  The acts of walking, greeting and photographing this place has created a series of memories and experiences that for me have wed me to this place.
My experience is not unique, we all have our perspectives and our own weaving of  experiences.  And, we all have our own personal reasons for choosing to be here, to create and live here.
I am drawn to these stories of place.  And I am not alone.  There are those among us that serve to gather and share these stories - art and educational institutions, non-profits, businesses, places of worship and many individuals that are compelled to capture these stories in their work, art and archives.
A Community Portrait of Durham was in part a way for me to be able to engage a community to connect and acknowledge these gifts, these storytellers.  Each one of us possesses our own complex and individual expressions of what is our own truth.  What strikes me as unique in this community is the general acceptance and interest in celebrating the overall diversity and difference in perspectives.
I don’t know if there will ever be a repeat of A Community Portrait but I do realize that the intent of it - the act of celebrating ourselves and our stories-is something that I am grateful to see taking place all around me.  Personally, I am still compelled to create opportunities to share these stories of this place, its building, people and organizations. 
I sense that our greatest connections come from being in the presence of one another.  The challenge sometimes lies in putting aside our personal agendas enough to listen and perhaps see where we share common ground.


What is next for A Community Portrait of Durham?

The aerial photograph will tour Durham in 2011 (DAC show runs until Jan 9) and there is talk to create some additional opportunities for folks to come out and tell their stories.  These are open and collaborative opportunities for discussion.  This project was developed as an idea to create a dialogue using art as mode of expression. 

This project was also created to support The Scrap Exchange raise awareness and funds toward a permanent home in Durham Central Park, add programming and create green jobs.  The Scrap is a catalyst for reinvention- both in terms of materials and human creativity.  2011 marks their 20th anniversary!  Sign up for their newsletter for updates on activities.

Tour and discussion locations will be announced here in early 2011 and also on facebook. In the meanwhile, feel free to share an idea or a story about Durham right here.
 And if you are in the photograph, be sure to go by Through This Lens to sign the copy in the window!  Roylee is selling prints and half goes to The Scrap Exchange!


The Museum of Durham History captures the stories of Durham residents

We are grateful to The Museum of Durham History for taking the opportunity to record the stories of many of those individuals who showed up to participate in A Community Portrait of Durham. Those stories can be found here:


Sneek peek...

Here's a portion of the final aerial image!

Come to the opening reception of "People You May Know: Contemporary Portraits" at the Durham Arts Council to see the full portrait!

What: opening reception, "People You May Know: Contemporary Portraits"

When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15

Where: Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris St., Durham

We'll have information Friday on how you can get your own copy of the portrait, with a portion of the proceeds going to The Scrap Exchange.

What an event!

photo by Darius Goins
We just wanted to thank everyone for coming out to the Oct. 3 event! We had more than 300 people in attendance and some very memorable guests, including the Duke Blue Devil and Wool E. Bull.

Check out our Flickr slideshow on the homepage and our Facebook page for photos of that day. There's also a great slideshow by The News & Observer and photographer John Rottet.

We hope you truly enjoyed being a participant in this fun event, met someone you didn't know or just got to show your Durham love. While the community portrait volunteers made a concerted effort to make this event inclusive of all parts of Durham, the final event was not truly as diverse as organizers and participants had hoped. But we would like to continue this conversation.

Organizer Chris Chinchar had a guest column published Monday, Oct. 11, in The Herald-Sun on this topic, and will have another column coming out Wednesday in the Independent Weekly.

Meanwhile, please join us for the big portrait REVEAL at a reception for the Durham Arts Council exhibit, "People You May Know: Contemporary Portraits," from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15 at 120 Morris St. This event is part of Third Friday festivities throughout downtown. Copies of the final portrait will be available beginning Oct. 15. Please visit the Durham Arts Council event or Through This Lens gallery for more information! A portion of the sale of each print will go to The Scrap Exchange.


Just 24 hours! This just in...

A Durham gnome!
There are just 24 hours left until A Community Portrait of Durham in Durham Central Park and the news keeps rolling in!


— We are having participants mostly fill in the blue section of the flag and using other materials/fabric to fill in the red and yellow parts of the flag. BUT, we invite members of the community to wear yellow and red, i.e. NCCU school colors, to fill in the smaller parts of the flag, too! So, if you have bright red, maroon or yellow tees to wear, you're more than welcomed to sport your school colors.

— Participants are welcomed to bring musical instruments for impromptu performances and jamming beginning at 3:15 p.m. in the part. You'll have free reign to picnic and play until about 4 p.m., when the Warehouse Blues Series concert begins.

— We've just confirmed some very special guests that will likely thrill both the kids and the grown-ups who attend. We encourage you to bring your cameras, too, to capture some of what's going on, and in case you want to get some memories of these Durham icons.

— There's still time to make art that represents Durham! One icon of Durham is the randomly placed garden gnomes that have been popping up all over the Bull City, and documented on this website.

Thanks to some creative volunteers, the gnome will be represented in the portrait (see photo)!! This Scrap Exchange-borne gnome was created by Hannah Peele, Sarah Bingham and Jessica Moore and has been named Klaus "The Blue Phoenix" Klemenson by the Durham Gnome bloggers, who will appear at the event Sunday to hold him up!


Official Day of Event Schedule!

Noon - CPOD festivities begin! DJ Piddipat sets the mood for picnicking and artmaking with the Scrap Exchange. Kids can join Jenny Justice of Durham Community Theatre for
"Let's Make A Story."

12:30 Welcome

1PM Strike a pose for the Community Portrait of Durham

1:15-2pm Music by Slim Pickns

1:30-3pm Stop by a Video Booth and tell us about your Durham

2-2:30pm Storyteller Jenny Justice

2:30-3:15pm Music by Gilbert Neal

Bring an instrument or a Frisbee, relax on the lawn and stick around for the
Warehouse Blues Series
Kelley and the Cowboys and Big Ron Hunter will be playing from 5-7pm.

Don't forget - this is a pack it in/pack it out event!
Ask a volunteer for more information.