Monday, April 25, 2011

Durham Sculpture Project

Durham's arts scene is arguably on the brink of reaching a critical mass. Events such as Third Friday and the bi-annual Art Walk, now in its twelfth year, continue to grow in popularity. The Durham Art Walk Spring Market featured more than 200 talented artists at sites throughout downtown Durham and was attended by an estimated 10,000 visitors. Durham is home to a plethora of galleries, studios and museums with Golden Belt and the Nasher Museum anchoring the arts community.

In typical Durham fashion, a visionary thinker has come forward with an ambitious plan to foster community development, this time, with the arts in mind. John Wendlebo has launched the Durham Sculpture Project, a community arts project which aims to foster socio-economic development in Durham's arts community through the creation of a large scale, high impact sculpture. The Durham Sculpture Project flagship is a 35 ft tall sculpture to be built in Durham under the non-for-profit umbrella of the New York Foundation for the Arts. The sculpture itself will become a high visibility attraction and a focal piece for Durham arts. Additionally, the project will create jobs in the community for artisans and engineers and build upon existing efforts to revitalize downtown Durham.

Wendlebo's vision for the impact of such a project runs much deeper than simply creating a massive work of art. The Durham Sculpture Project will also host a gallery space which will house the Project's fund raising headquarters, permanent exhibit space and short rotation exhibits. From that space, Wendlebo hopes to develop an arts incubator for new ventures and concepts.

Born in France, Wendelbo is a Durham-based artist specializing in sculpture and digital art. He has worked as a designer, fabricator, project engineer and project manager on large scale projects which have appeared in the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the US Embassy in London and the Regan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA.

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