We've received a lot of questions from readers asking for tips on a number of topics since starting our home décor and DIY-filled blog. What’s the right paint color for this room? How close together should my furniture be? Is this rug too busy? Can I throw away my husband’s favorite chair? One question that we cannot and should not ever really answer for anyone is, “What should I hang here?”
Those big or small blank spaces on our walls can sometimes be the toughest areas to fill. They can also be the finishing touches that make our homes feel truly complete. Despite this fact, we are firm believers that art is an extremely personal choice for a home and should not be rushed, but rather collected over time as pieces speak to you. You have to look at this every day and should really love it. The same goes for that little extra space on your side table or buffet – because we all know that art is not just for your walls.
No matter what your artistic style, be it industrial, abstract or traditional – the Bull City has lots of ways for you to view, buy or even create art for your spaces all while supporting our thriving local art community.
The Clay Studio, 546 Foster St., is operated by the Durham Arts Council and gives you a seat at the wheel in creating unique pottery and other artistic pieces for your home. Classes are held throughout the year in various concentrations and skill levels. A complete schedule for the studio as well as other Durham Arts Council courses can be found online at www.durhamarts.org.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into the craft of pottery making, consider renting studio space or becoming a studio assistant at Claymakers, just down the street from The Clay Studio at 705 Foster St. Here you'll find a number of classes available, as well as a shop in case buying is more up your alley than throwing.
In addition to the hands-on approach of clay making, Durham boasts a wealth of intimate galleries perfect for viewing the work of local and international artists alike. Some of the best spectators can be found visiting the following:
- Bull City Arts Collaborative, 401 B-1 Foster St. This arts and creative professional alliance operates three working studios as well as a bustling gallery on Fridays and Saturdays. Studios are open from 6-9pm on third Fridays.
- The Durham Arts Council and the Durham Art Guild, 120 Morris St. The collaboration between these two groups also gives us CenterFest at the end of September and the Durham Art Walk and Holiday Market every November. Both are held downtown and open to the public.
- Durty Durham Art Collective, 305 E. Chapel Hill St. Durty Durham is a free collective of musical and visual artists and operates as part of the Durham Arts Place downtown.
- Golden Belt Artist Studios, 807 East Main St., Building 3. The popular Golden Belt, also the new home of The Scrap Exchange, houses 35 sky-lit studios that wrap around a large, curated gallery.
- Monkey Bottom Studio Collaborative and Gallery, 609 Trent St. Affectionately known as MoBo, this gallery is home to four local artists: Joe Galas, Dianne Freund, Renee Leverty and Peter Anderson. The 600-square-foot space features an outdoor area and a small kitchen, making it a great rental space for unique events.
Should you desire a more unique artistic experience with the ability to touch, pick up, view and buy some of the most off-beat pieces in Durham, we’d suggest a visit to the funky Outsiders Art and Collectibles, 718 Iredell St. or the soon to open Outsiders Too, 721 Broad St. For a more traditional art-buying experience, visit the Bull City Art & Frame Co. inside Brightleaf Square. This full-service frame shop also hosts a mini-gallery of local artists that rotates throughout the year between works of pottery, jewelry, fabric art, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media and woodworking arts.
Last but not least, if you’re do-it-yourselfers like some people we know and really want a personal attachment to your art as well as that local connection, grab your camera and head to one of our city's more than 70 public art installations. Some of our favorites are located throughout downtown as well as in Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St.
A great framed photograph or hand-drawn sketch of something in your town that you love is art that’s always right at home.