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10 Durham hidden arts gems to see this summer

<p>The Carrack is a community run, zero commission space for emerging artists to show their work in downtown Durham.&nbsp;</p>

The Carrack is a community run, zero commission space for emerging artists to show their work in downtown Durham. 

2018 has been a significant year for culture at Duke. The opening of the Rubenstein Arts Center on Campus Drive served as a testament to the university's commitment to the arts and the building remains an unmistakable daily reminder of Duke's artistic resources on the bus ride between East and West Campus. With expanding cultural amenities on campus, it's easy to forget that a flourishing arts scene exists just outside of Duke; from a dynamic film community to a network of local art galleries, Durham embraces a vibrant cultural hub. Here are ten great art spaces students shouldn't miss out on:

Claymakers Arts Community: 

This Durham space is a one-stop-shop for pottery and the clay arts. In addition to selling clay, tools and supplies, Claymakers features a gallery of contemporary North Carolinian ceramic pieces. The Community also offers wheel and sculpture workshops and classes for beginners to masters, which include 35 hours of open studio time.

Pleiades Arts: 

Located on E. Chapel Hill Street by The Parlour and Pizzeria Toro, Pleiades Arts is a local gallery accessible to students. A nonprofit artist-driven space, the organization looks to foster community engagement with the arts. A new artist is featured in the gallery's upper floor each month and shows rotate in the lower gallery every six to eight weeks. Pleiades hosts a Third Friday reception each month and has gallery hours Thursday through Sunday.

The Fruit (Durham Fruit and Produce Co.): 

Self-described as an "art space and creative playground," The Fruit is a new addition to the Durham arts scene. A decades-old renovated produce storehouse, the venue provides a space for nearly all arts imaginable — from painting to drama. In addition to housing installations, The Fruit hosts events including dance parties, performance art shows and film screenings.

The Carrack: 

A volunteer-run, zero-commission arts venue in downtown Durham, the Carrack provides a space for emerging artists to show their work. Along with opening for most Third Fridays and hosting yoga in the gallery on Wednesday, the Carrack hosts a variety of exhibitions and installations–many of which are community-based — that rotate biweekly.

SplatSpace (Durham's HackerSpace): 

At the crossroads of technology and art, SplatSpace is a nonprofit, member-funded place for community members to access tools and support for their creative scientific or technological projects. Comprised of "crafters, engineers, mad scientists, artists, programmers, tinkerers and makers of all kinds," the organization hosts monthly and weekly classes and events focusing on topics from woodworking to robotics.

The Scrap Exchange: 

As a creative reuse arts center, the Scrap Exchange is a DIY-lover's paradise. By collecting materials from Durham businesses and individuals and repurposing them for sale, the organization provides a source for creative projects more sustainable than chain arts stores. In addition to its store, the Scrap Exchange hosts a gallery showcasing local artists who utilize reclaimed supplies in their work, as well as classes and meetups on creative processes such as DIY garden art and altered books.

The Durham Cinematheque: 

The passion project of a local filmmaker, the Durham Cinematheque hosts monthly 16mm film screenings focused on a central theme, including experimental or comedy pieces. As each screening has a capacity of 10 viewers, the showings are an intimate way to learn about Durham and general film history. The Cinematheque additionally hosts the Analog Museum, a collection of vintage cameras and editing devices, as an exhibit on the history of motion pictures.

The Durham Cinematheque hosts monthly themed 16mm film screenings with an audience capacity of 10 people. 

Liberty Arts: 

Liberty Arts is a collective of artists, known for the “Major the Bull" statue in the heart of downtown Durham. In addition to their studio and gallery being open for every Third Friday, Liberty Arts hosts an array of classes on topics including printmaking, pottery and metalworking.

The Durham Jazz Workshop: 

A nonprofit organization with the goal of sharing jazz with the Triangle community, the Durham Jazz Workshop often has concerts at its gallery with discounted tickets for students. In addition to performances, the Workshop has six-week classes for all levels of jazz musicians as well as private lessons.


Built as a church in 1910, the historical space currently housing SPECTRE Arts now holds exhibition and performance rooms and artists' studios. Along with opening for every Third Friday, SPECTRE hosts events and exhibits from all forms of the visual and performing arts. 


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