Skip to main content

Bull City is Culture City

Duke is under two miles from downtown Durham, which is defined by its creative community spirit. Galleries and arts non-profits throw open their doors every Third Friday, free concerts pop up at American Tobacco in the summer, jazz buzzes downtown in April’s Art of Cool Festival, and the arts meet tech at American Underground and at the annual Moogfest.

Studying the arts in a smaller culture-rich city has its perks, too. For example, the Rubenstein Arts Center gives Duke Arts an opportunity to invite more local artists onto campus for arts projects and residencies—giving students the chance to get to know professionals in their field. The Power Plant Gallery includes occasional undergraduate and graduate student work in its exhibition program, which directly links Duke’s visual arts to downtown.

In Durham, if you have a good idea and a couple of willing collaborators, you can make your creative project a reality.

Exterior of DPAC lit from inside seen at night.
Durham Performing Arts Center at night. Photo by Estlin Haiss.

“The tobacco and textile industries left their imprint on Durham long ago, but now the historic brick mills and repurposed factories form the backdrop of North Carolina’s re-energized Bull City. Recently, artist studios and upstart galleries have multiplied in the flourishing downtown area, where new bakeries, pizzerias, tapas bars and food trucks — and trailers and buses and even the odd tricycle — seem to surface at every turn. Since Big Tobacco is dead, consider this cool mix of culture and food the new Durham blend.”

The New York Times, “36 Hours in Durham

NC Is for Artists

Sylvan Esso, the Duffer Brothers & More

Renowned artists in all mediums call North Carolina home. Explore the NC State Art Council's project "50 for 50" to read profiles from Sylvan Esso, the Duffer Brothers (creators of Stranger Things), and others.

meet NC artists