Arts

Black Issues Forum revives discussion on Durham’s black-owned businesses

By Samantha Perry and Sabrina Berndt

Although the 22nd annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has come to an end, UNC-TV will continue highlighting the work of award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson throughout the month. On Tuesday, April 23, UNC-TV will premiere Nelson’s most recent documentary, “Boss: The Black Experience in Business.” The film touches on rarely discussed stories of black entrepreneurship […]

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Bull City Laughs hitting the road for fun

By Tianna Degraffenried

April 8, 2019

Black excellence has done it again with five African-American males starting their own comedy show. It’s not just a regular comedy show with a venue, but a comedy show on a school bus. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a school bus. The first Bull City Laughs bus tour rolled out on March 15 to a sold-out […]

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Filmmakers highlight emotional struggles faced by immigrants

By Samantha Perry

March 27, 2019

When Grace Beeler began teaching English as a second language, she was shocked by the stories refugees had to share. “If everyday Americans could hear the stories that I hear at work they would have a lot more compassion for refugees,” Beeler said. “They would understand why they need to come here, why we should […]

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New gallery honors Durham artist before grand opening

By Sabrina Berndt and Elisabeth Beauchamp

When Jacqueline Jones inherited her cousin Mable’s artwork, she knew she was taking on the responsibility of protecting part of Durham’s artistic history. An art exhibit honoring Mable C. Bullock took place at Cecy’s Gallery & Studios on March 1 and 2 from 6-9 p.m. The event was open to the public and marked the […]

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Black Poetry Theatre explores masculinity in the workplace in its latest production

By Natasha Townsend

February 27, 2019

The Hayti Heritage Center buzzed with nervous energy hours before the 4 p.m. showing of “Inside Studio Real: A choreopoetic sitcom” on Feb. 23.  The play, written by director Dasan Ahanu, involves poetry, movement and emotion. Ahanu, 44, is from Raleigh and has been an artist since the ‘90s, he said. He has performed original […]

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‘As an Act of Protest’ battles racism on screen at Durham’s Shadowbox Studio

By Hannah Towey and John Bauman

Filmmaker Dennis Leroy Kangalee had set out to create a masterpiece. Less than one year after his debut film, “As an Act of Protest” was released, Kangalee sent that masterpiece flying off the balcony of a hotel in Germany. Kangalee’s independent film is a 144-minute-long drama whose unedited, anti-Hollywood aesthetic and emotionally raw acting seek […]

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John Gattis’ hit musical ‘Swing School’ returns to Hillside High

By Will Shropshire

After 47 years, “Swing School,” a community favorite production for many decades, returned to the stage at Hillside High School. The Hillside High School Drama Department – under the direction of Wendell Tabb –  put on four performances of its new adaptation, called “Hallelujah! Swing School,”  from Feb. 15-17. The production has long been a Hillside […]

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‘I’ve never seen any performance comparable to this one:’ ‘The Talk’ resonates with PYO members

By Adrianne Cleven

A performance just isn’t a performance without an audience. And some unique members of the audience during Sonny Kelly’s performance of his play, “The Talk,” added extra significance to the experience on Feb. 17. “The Talk,” which centers around themes of racial oppression and resilience, has been making waves across Durham and Chapel Hill since […]

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Hayti celebrates fourth annual Black History: Artists’ Perspectives Exhibition

By Sabrina Berndt

February 13, 2019

Four years ago, Hayti Heritage Center presented the first Black History: Artists’ Perspectives exhibition to honor African-American artists. Now an annual event, Hayti opened the 2019 exhibition on Feb. 1. The exhibition began in 2016 when Willie Bigelow, an artist and Durham resident, approached Angela Lee, the executive director at Hayti, to bring an event to […]

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Playwright grapples with growing up while black in ‘The Talk’

By Diane Adame

A black playwright has turned his personal experience into the play, “The Talk,” through dramatizing a difficult conversation he had with his son about the racialization of America. Sonny Kelly, a UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral candidate and performer in “The Talk,” wrote the play in 2015 after explaining the 2015 Baltimore protests to his then 7-year-old […]

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How longtime filmmaker Lana Garland saved the Hayti Heritage Film Festival

By Jack Frederick

Longtime writer, producer, director and now-Durham resident Lana Garland fell into filmmaking because a movie spoke to her. Literally.  In 1989, Garland bought a ticket to see Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing,” the iconic movie she says was “revolutionary” for the budding black film industry. In the film, she was moved by a […]

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Kidznotes performance in ‘Carmen’ tests the bounds of vocal range

By Diane Adame

January 31, 2019

Kidznotes musicians used their opera voices to tell the dramatic French love story of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” The students performed as the children’s chorus alongside the stars of the North Carolina Opera on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27 at the Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. The opera performance featured hypnotic choreography, human drama and popular hit […]

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Golden Belt artists adjust to new studio spaces after relocation

By Johnny Sobczak and Cameron A. Rogers

January 30, 2019

There is a new era beginning at the Golden Belt campus in downtown Durham, an art gallery that has been the home of major artistic projects for the community. Golden Belt, originally known for its textile factory, is now embracing the many arts cultivated in the Durham area thanks to fresh ownership. In 2016, Scientific […]

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Threehouse Studios celebrates community through yoga, music, dance

By Keeley Gay

The white, vine-covered building situated along Durham’s American Tobacco Trail is more than it appears. What used to be an old, small Piggly Wiggly has been transformed into a community-focused dance, yoga and music studio. Threehouse Studios opened their doors to the public on Oct. 22, 2017. The idea of a multipurpose studio was developed […]

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Hip-hop aerobics dances into Holton

By Cheyenne Beasley

Looking more like a club than a county recreation center, Durham residents “got lit,” at the county’s only hip-hop aerobics class in the Holton Career and Resource Center. Holton located at 401 N. Driver St., was the former East Durham Junior High School before it was renovated in 2009 with the help of the city, […]

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Kidznotes’ free Winter Concerts this weekend

By Cindy Chen

December 14, 2018

  Kidznotes, the Durham-based non-profit music program devoted to giving kids a passion for music, is back with their annual Winter Concerts. This year’s first free concert will be held Fri., Dec. 14, 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Fayetteville Elementary School located at 2905 Fayetteville St. The second concert will be presented in the same […]

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Photo essay: The original Colors of Purple

By Cameron A. Rogers

November 22, 2018

The Hillside High School Theatre Department, under the leadership of veteran director Wendell Tabb,  launched its fall production season by bringing “The Color Purple’ to the stage. Durham VOICE photographer Cameron Rogers was there to capture these images. Before the production begin on Nov 9, African dancers graced the stage at Hillside High School, giving […]

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BlackSpace and The Revenge of the Afronauts

By Isaiah Ball

October 22, 2018

  Located on 212 West Main Street is a unique recording studio. The “BlackSpace” is an Afro-futurism digital creation space home to Durham’s youth. This makerspace offers the youth a “wokeshop” series offering personal training in the digital and creative arts including videography, spoken word poetry, puppetry, coding, 3D printing and electronic music production. Kids, […]

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Rehearsals underway at Hillside for “The Color Purple”

By Cheyenne Beasley

October 10, 2018

Hillside High School’s award-winning drama department is in rehearsal for ” The Color Purple,” a musical version of the classic novel,  produced and directed by veteran drama teacher Wendell Tabb, November 9-11, at Hillside High School theatre auditorium, 3727 Fayetteville St. There are almost 100 students working to create the production, including actors, dancers, offstage […]

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Saturdays are better at the Farmers’ Market

By Arielle Cummings

October 8, 2018

  Saturday! The day that everyone looks forward to. What better way to enjoy a relaxing Saturday morning, than at the Durham Farmers’ Market? The market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. April through November and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. December through March. The market also offers a mid-week market, […]

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“The Glory Train” gospel musical comes to Durham

By Cameron A. Rogers

September 21, 2018

Determination, faith and humor. These are just a few words Karen Lewis, the niece of one of the actresses and a member of the Antioch Baptist Church uses to describe tomorrow’s gospel musical, “The Glory Train.” For the last three years for Black History Month the Drama Ministry of St. Matthews in Greensboro, N.C holds […]

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Evan Nicole Bell: Documenting through photography

By Corin Hemphill

April 20, 2018

  Through the exhibit “Faith in Color: A Photographic Exploration of Race, Religion, and America in Tribute to C. Eric Lincoln,” a Duke senior aims to change people’s perceptions. The exhibit is on display in the Duke University Chapel until May 1. Evan Nicole Bell is from Columbia, Maryland,  a planned community founded by Jim […]

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The Scrap Exchange celebrates 27th birthday; Reuse Arts District grows

By Marissa O'Neill

April 11, 2018

  On Earth Day weekend, April 20-21, the Scrap Exchange will celebrate both its 27th birthday and the grand opening of its new store, Scrap Thrift. It will also host its second DIY (Do It Yourself) Fest for the Durham community. The Scrap Exchange, founded in 1991, bought its current space, a formerly abandoned church, […]

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Black History: Artists’ Perspectives Exhibition at Hayti

By Lamel Batts

March 29, 2018

  During February, the Hayti Heritage Center hosted its annual Black History: Artists’ Perspectives exhibition with powerful art by various artists. The free exhibition was curated by Willie R. Bigelow, who is also an artist featured in the exhibit. Bigelow started the exhibit in 2016, hoping to feature African American artists and showcase their artwork […]

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Art in the name of science

By Antony Nganga

March 28, 2018

  Like some other artists with studios in Golden Belt, Christine Hager-Braun, arrived at art through an unlikely path. She holds a doctorate degree and is a biochemist who has had her share of runs in the lab and in class. She has pored over microscopes searching for an HIV vaccine.  Some wonder why she […]

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Hillside alumna leads Dance Company to be named best overall in dance festival

By Zayrha Rodriguez

Back in 2006 the Durham native, Valencia Lipscomb, was the second freshman in the history of Hillside High School to make it to Company—one of two dance groups in Hillside Dance Company. Twelve years later, Lipscomb is the teacher for the Hillside Dance Company, which includes the two dance groups called Company and Sting, as well […]

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Welcome to Wakanda: What Black Panther means to us

By Corin Hemphill

March 18, 2018

Online fundraisers with the hashtag #BlackPantherChallenge are trending. Teenagers in Durham get to see the first black comic book superhero on the big screen. Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The latest blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is helmed by a black […]

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Durham’s new trail will add color and connect communities

By Tessa Platek

February 28, 2018

In busy urban areas, sometimes there’s nothing better than escaping the city to enjoy nature. An addition to the West Ellerbee Creek Trail is making it easier to do for more of Durham’s residents. “It’s going to connect people to parts of Durham they haven’t seen before,” said Jessica Kemp, Durham senior project manager in […]

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Hillside drama teacher changes lives through international theatre

By Kenzie Cook

For the last 31 years, North Carolina Central University graduate Wendell Tabb, 55, has headed the theatre program at Hillside High School. In this time, he has transformed the humble high school stage to something more akin to professional theatre. Since 1995, Tabb has directed the International Professional-Student Theatre Exchange Program allowing drama students to […]

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ZenSoFly talks music and how RDU receives it

By Baleigh Johnson

  ZenSoFly is a Raleigh-based rapper, DJ, radio personality on 92.1, and producer. With her different forms of expression, ZenSoFly has many people paying attention. Her talents reach out to a variety of people and environments like festivals, club venues, and museums, but most of her performances are in Durham. “Durham has been really supportive […]

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Durham Arts Council displays “America Wants” by Owen Daniels

By Kelcie Frye

February 14, 2018

Turning photos into powerful messages, Owens Daniels is using photography and digital art to make a statement about relevant social issues of the moment. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Daniels considers himself a “hybrid North Carolinian.” A retired military veteran, Daniels got his start in photography at the U.S. Army Photographic School of Cartography. He is […]

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Durham artists take on national issues with “DREAMers” art exhibit

By Katie Rice

When Cornelio Campos arrived in the United States in 1989, he knew no English and next to no one, but he held onto his childhood dream of being an artist. Nearly three decades later, he finds himself confronting the same issues he saw as a new immigrant, but now he can control the conversation. In […]

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Durham teens compete to perform at international slam poetry competition

By Ramishah Maruf

Durham School of the Arts sophomore Uche Nwogalanya strode up the small church stage. She took a deep breath, flipped her hair back and let the words flow out. “You are no monster, just a black boy,” Nwogalanya said. “To the son I may one day have.” Nwogalanya shared the stage with six other high […]

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Hayti Heritage Center hosts black perspectives exhibit

By Caroline Bowyer

Artist Willie Bigelow considers himself a Durham native, even though he hasn’t lived here his whole life. Born in Greensboro, Bigelow moved to Durham at age 8 so his father could be the pastor at Greater Saint Paul Baptist Church. Bigelow, now 70, has dabbled in the arts since he was a child. “My uncle […]

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Interactive exhibit challenges Durham to explore racism through art

By Marissa O'Neill

  The dynamic creation “Buy My Soul and Call It Art” engaged the Durham arts community in an essential conversation about the experiences of black artists through a series of performances the weekends of Jan. 26 and Feb. 2. Monét Noelle Marshall, of east Durham, is the creator of this project, which she refers to […]

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Scrap Exchange expands from renovating materials to renovating communities

By Tessa Platek

January 31, 2018

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” may seem like the perfect slogan, but it falls short of what the Scrap Exchange actually does. The Scrap Exchange takes one man’s trash and spins it into treasure for the whole community. The Scrap Exchange has been reducing waste and fostering creative visions since its opening in […]

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Kidznotes Bucket Band promotes music for Durham youth

By Kelcie Frye

Sweet music fills the halls of the Holton Career and Resource Center in Northeast Central Durham every Saturday morning. From orchestra classes to ensemble choirs, Kidznotes aims to make the arts accessible to children. One of the biggest issues in music education is a lack of access to musical instruments. Teacher Rosendo Peña is combating […]

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White Rock Baptist Church celebrates its rich faith through film

By Liz Chen

Just down Fayettville St. from the Chicken Hut and Food Lion stands a 152-year-old church that has fostered a community of devoted supporters and faithful followers of Jesus Christ in the Hayti District. White Rock Baptist Church was founded in 1866 by Margaret Faucette and is one of the oldest community service oriented churches in […]

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African heritage dance class uplifts and energizes

By Tiayana Ford

December 6, 2017

  Every Monday night, for just $5 a session, dance enthusiasts gather for the African heritage dance class at the Hayti Heritage Center. The class, with live drummers, starts off with stretching, and deep breathing. On a recent Monday the substitute instructor, McDaniel Roberts, explained the importance of breathing through the muscles and building up […]

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Teacher by day, rapper by night

By Autavius Smith and Daija Graves

  Durham Public Schools kindergarten teacher Antonio Cowart sticks to his morals even when not around his students. After working for a moving company for a short time, the bubbly 27-year-old found his voice in rapping by using age-appropriate lyrics for children. Most people who hear his music consider him a “Christian rapper.” However, Cowart […]

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Give it up for the poet, not the points: Jambalaya Soul’s Annual Women’s Slam

By Allen Longstreet

November 27, 2017

  Saturday nights typically warrant going out. Whether that be to dinner, a nightclub or a movie —  the city of Durham offers a wide variety of options. But this Saturday, on the quiet corner of Lakewood Avenue and Fayetteville Street, inside the Hayti Heritage Center was a collection of voices. Voices that were passionate […]

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No Limitz to what this dance company can do

By Elle Kehres

November 26, 2017

When Miss Mo founded No Limitz Dance Company in 2012, she only had four students—but those days are long gone. Stretching on the floor, just one of her dance groups, affectionately named the “Glamour Girls,” warms up to practice their routine for the Durham holiday parade on December 2. With Santa Clause is Coming to […]

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Iron Pour means art is hot in Durham

By David Fee

Half of Durham Central Park was roped off a week ago for Liberty Arts’ 2nd annual Iron Pour where 2,000 pounds of molten iron was cast into sculptures. “We’re getting ready for the first pour, the molds are lined up, the artists are suited up in leathers,” said Carol McLaurin, vice president of the board […]

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Hobbyists, full-time artists come together at Durham Art-a-Thon

By Alex Zietlow

When members of the Durham art community — creators and appreciators alike — stepped into the Durham Art Guild on Morris street on a recent weekend, their voices lowered to a whisper. A soft hum of chatter layered under the sound of acoustic ukulele strings. The artists stood at their respective tables and touched up […]

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Darius Quarles, dynamic artist and community member

By Gabby Bulgarelli

Darius Quarles is a storyteller. He is also one of the founding members of Durham’s Pleiades Gallery on East Chapel Hill Street, an artist-driven organization that was founded in 2013. Earlier this year Pleiades completed its transition into the nonprofit realm, with lofty goals for Durham’s artistic future. Pleiades Gallery is softly lit and unassuming, […]

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Unify dynamic community districts through art – the first major public art work of the Durham SmART Vision Plan

By Yizhou Jiang

November 8, 2017

  Durham Arts Council hosted a “Meet the Artist Open House & Discussion” on Friday in its art gallery at 120 Morris Street in downtown Durham where the artist selected to create the monumental Art Wrap for the Corcoran Street Garage was invited to talk about his concept designs and artistic vision for this project. The Corcoran […]

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