Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Duke's Nasher Museum of Art Presents Modern Masterpieces Exhibition

Durham, NC is no stranger to great art exhibits, and now the area will play host to yet another major art event at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

An exhibition featuring more than 50 masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro and others will be presented at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, beginning Nov. 4.

The exhibition, “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore,” tells the story of two Victorian-era sisters whose collection was financed by their brothers’ textile empire in North Carolina during the first half of the 20th century. The Nasher Museum is the third and final venue for the exhibition, which is on view through Feb. 10, 2013.

Matisse called Claribel and Etta Cone “my two Baltimore ladies.” The Cone sisters bought art directly out of the Parisian studios of avant-garde artists, starting in 1905. At a time when critics disparaged Matisse, and Picasso was virtually unknown, the Cones supported them and eventually amassed one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art.

“We are thrilled to present this stunning exhibition, which tells a very special North Carolina story,” said Sarah Schroth, interim director and the Nancy Hanks Senior Curator of the Nasher Museum. “For the first time, visitors will be able to comprehend the complete and fascinating picture of the Cone sisters as collectors through their incredible purchases of master paintings, prints and drawings, as well as fabrics, laces and jewelry from around the world, personal letters and diaries.”

The exhibition, which originated at The Baltimore Museum of Art, includes textiles and decorative arts from Europe, Asia and Africa that the Cones collected, as well as archival materials that highlight the sisters’ remarkable lives. It features an interactive virtual tour of the sisters’ adjoining Baltimore apartments, showing the collection as it was displayed in their home.

The exhibition will be complemented by programs at the Nasher Museum, including two free family day events; talks by art historians; French wine tastings and musical performances; gallery tours and drawing sessions; teacher workshops and more. In addition, UNC-TV is producing a 30-minute documentary about the exhibition.

Additional information about visiting the museum can be found on their website.  Information  about planning a visit to Durham can be found online.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Durham Farmers' Market Announces Winter Schedule and Cheese Event

The Durham Farmers' Market will be open Saturdays 8am-Noon and will be closed on Wednesdays until the spring.The effects of Hurricane Sandy will most likely be felt tomorrow as it moves along the eastern seaboard, but the Market is open rain, shine or hurricane and will be open tomorrow morning.

After the hurricane passes, the weather is forecast to turn cooler and there will be a real chance for frost near the end of next week.  With a possibility of frost, that means an end to tender summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, basil, eggplant, beans and okra.   Hardy fall greens, root vegetables and brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts) can survive and even thrive through frosts and produce late into December and  beyond. So now is the time to enjoy the remaining summer vegetables!

Tomorrow morning, the Durham Farmers' Market will be celebrating American Cheese Month!  American Cheese Month is dedicated to celebrating the diverse cheeses produced by American dairy farmers and cheesemakers! The Durham Farmers' Market is lucky to have three great farmstead cheese makers -- Celebrity Dairy, Chapel Hill Creamery and Elodie Farms!  Their cheeses are nothing like what is found in the dairy section of the grocery store. These cheesemakers make their cheeses in small batches using time-honored traditions to ensure quality and character. On these farms, the animals that supply milk are raised on pasture and have a healthy diet in order to get the highest quality milk possible.

To celebrate our cheesemakers, we will have our first "Meet the Cheesemakers" event from 10-11am.  Patrick Coleff from Durham's Reliable Cheese Company will kick off the event (on the lawn, depending on the weather) by giving brief introductions of the three farms and then chat with cheese maker and farmer Portia McKnight from Chapel Hill Creamery about her experiences.  After that,  Portia will give a mozzarella stretching demonstration. Patrick will be on hand to answer any cheese questions and Celebrity Dairy and Elodie Farms will have samples of their cheeses at their booths!  For more information about the farms and the event, click here.

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:   FENNEL, CAULIFLOWER, PUMPKINS,  Asian Greens, Arugula, Beets, Beans, Bitter gourd, Broccoli, Butterbeans, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeriac, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards, Cucumbers, Daikon Radish, Escarole, Eggplant, Edamame, Fresh Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley), Galangal, Ginger, Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lambs Quarter, Lemongrass, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Napa Cabbage, Peppers (Sweet, Hot, and Padron), Potatoes, October Beans, Okra (Red and Green), Onions (Red, Yellow, White), Ornamental Gourds, Pea Shoots, Purple Hull Peas, Pumpkins, Salad Mix, Shiitakes,  Sweet Potato Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Turmeric, Turnips, Tomatoes,  Winter Squash - Butternut, Acorn, Delicata, Kabocha, Long Island Cheese, Spaghetti and more, Zucchini
FRUITS:  PERSIMMONS - Asian, Asian Pears, Apples, Scuppernong and Muscadine Grapes
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Cornish Game Hens, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit
Duck Eggs and Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS and PLANTS: Dahlias, Lisianthus,  Sunflowers, Zinnias, Mixed Bouquets,
FALL BEDDING PLANTS - PANSIES, MUMS and SNAPDRAGONS, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS: NEW ITEM: GRAPE JUICE! No sugar added! Raw Honey, Flour, Pecans, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Pasta, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets,  Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Zagat Guide Surveying Durham Restaurants

For many, the Zagat Guide is a trustworthy source of restaurant information culled from the input of those who dine at those properties.  Previously, the guide had been largely for major markets only, but now, the publishers are looking nationwide for commentary.

The guide, purchased by Google in September, 2011, is viewed by the owners as a great tool to generate content for it's social media channel, Google +, as well as a tool to help it compete with websites like OpenTable and Yelp.

Now, Zagat is looking for information about Durham, and the Triangle area overall.  As Durham is widely known for its food scene, and people in Durham are extremely engaged, it's time to put those two things to use.

Zagat has an online survey which includes just about every property in the Triangle listed alphabetically, by cuisine, or by location.  Reviewers rate food, service, and decor, list an approximate price per person, and then can add comments.  The site takes measures to ensure that the reviews are not "ballot stuffing" by those with something to gain by doing so. Diners can feel certain that the information is objective and from other diners like themselves.

So, Durham food fans, now is the time to speak up.  Follow the link and review away.  For those that do, there are even rewards.

This survey closes on November 30, so people are encouraged to contribute now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Durham's Frightful Family Fun Coming Up

Residents, families, and visitors looking for a unique way to celebrate Halloween, while raising money for local charities, should mark their calendars now for the first-ever Durham Monster Dash.

The event, scheduled for Friday, October 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., will include a costumed charity run/walk through the historic streets of downtown Durham followed by food trucks, costume prizes, music, and the “Thriller Dance” in front of City Hall on 101 City Hall Plaza.

The Durham Monster Dash is a three-mile course through the streets of downtown and another kid-friendly one-mile course through the alleys and open spaces in downtown. Durham City-County Planning Department staff and community volunteers will set up “monster zones” to provide extra thrills along the route.

The event is being organized by the Durham City-County Planning Department as part of the City’s Culture of Service Initiative and 7 Stars, which is the annual City employee giving campaign. Planning staff will also be using this event to test the use of the City’s public open spaces and pedestrian accessibility and connectivity downtown.

“For the Planning Department’s staff, the Durham Monster Dash is a fun way to help charities that enrich children’s environments. We also look at the event as an opportunity to invite people to explore our beloved downtown’s architecture, streets, alleys, and open spaces,” said Steve Medlin, director of the Durham City-County Planning Department. “The event is a way for planning staff to engage with the community around a charitable event while developing new skills to meet an unusual challenge.”

Sponsors of this event include the Durham Police Department, WXDU 88.7 FM, and Road ID. WXDU will also be hosting a costumed dance after-party at The Pinhook, located at 117 W. Main St.

Participants are asked to register for this event online and provide a monetary donation. Proceeds collected from this event will be benefit Kidznotes, The Scrap Exchange, Keep Durham Beautiful, Inc., and Girls Rock, N.C.

For more information, including a registration form and route map, visit the event website. Participants may also keep up with the latest news on the Durham Monster Dash by “liking” their Facebook page

Durham is also home to Zombie Lurch which might be appealing for those looking for more ghoulish fun. The event is in its sixth year, and it never disappoints.  Get more details at the link.

Durham always has fun and interesting things to do.  Stay up to date on all that is happening by signing up for the Durham Event Calendar emails or visiting the calendar online, liking Durham on Facebook, and with the official Durham visitors website.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bull Durham Blues Festival Rain Date Announced

The Bull Durham Blues Festival (BDBF)is widely known as a must-see for blues aficionados.  In fact, it drew a NY-based travel writer who has visited 22 countries to Durham.  According to the article she wrote about her experience in Durham - she had a blast in part due to the BDBF.

As many know, the Saturday schedule of this years' show was disrupted by bad weather.  Well, if you were one of the hundreds of people kept away by the rain then read on.

The St. Joseph's Historic Foundation, Inc. is presenting the Blues Festival Redo on December 7, 2012 at 7 p.m.

And it's FREE.

"We're excited to be able to offer this free Blues Festival Redo or makeup performance to our loyal patrons and festival lovers who've come to count on us for a great Blues show," said Interim Director Janella Sellars. "We were so disappointed that the weather prevented three fantastic groups and performers from entertaining those who showed up for a good time, as well as those who couldn't make it out that Saturday due to the massive storm. But now is our chance to make it up to everyone, and let them know how much we appreciate their continued support."

Artists who were unable to go on stage due to the weather during the September festival are scheduled to perform at the December show. They are:

7:00 p.m. -- Bullfrog Willard McGhee
                  2011 Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge winner (solo artist)
                  "McGhee is one of the great characters of modern-day
                  North Carolina Piedmont blues..." -- Dave Menconi, Our State Magazine

8:15 p.m. -- E-train and the Rusted Rails
                  The Rusted Rails ignite local audiences with a captivating mix of familiar and
                  original rock-a-billy, swing, and blues. They were voted best band by the
                  Triangle Blues Society in 2011 and the Cape Fear Blues Society in 2010.

9:30 p.m. -- Stanley Baird
                  Acclaimed jazz musician, composer and entertainer.  He's has shared the concert
                  stage with his mentor Donald Byrd, Najee, Alex Bugnon, Regina Belle,
                  Richard Elliot, Brian McKnight, Kirk Whalum, Kim Waters, The O'Jays,
                  and the late George Howard.

Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Hayti Heritage Center, and vendors will also be on hand. The Hayti Heritage Center is located at 804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27701.  Seating is limited, so get there early.  For more information about the performances, contact Janella Sellars at jsellars@hayti.org, or call 683-1709.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Honoring Durham's "Curb Appeal" Champions

By a ratio of almost four to one, Durham residents rate appearance and physical upkeep a high community priority. Destinations hoping to attract visitors and newcomers understand that curb appeal is an essential investment that delivers a high rate of return.

The Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden 
Golden Leaf Award Winner - Landscaping and Maintenance
Photo by Rick Fisher
For some, appearance means removing litter and planting flowers.  From a destination marketing standpoint, it’s more about creating and maintaining a community’s unique sense of place.  

Landscaping –particularly around gateways—is a part of that, but it’s also about historic preservation, urban forestry, attractive streetscapes with wayfinding, and well-maintained, weed-free medians. 

Keep Durham Beautiful, the Durham City-County Appearance Commission and Durham City-County Environmental Affairs joined together last week to present the Gold Leaf Awards, an annual event recognizing properties that illustrate the value that Durham puts on community appearance.   

The 2012 Golden Leaf Award Winners are to be commended for raising the bar for excellence in design and maintenance of commercial, residential and community properties.  They have shown leadership in  raising community awareness of the value of good appearance and stewardship.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Focus Groups to Help The Art of Cool Project Bring a World-Class Music Festival to Durham

Durham is widely-known as a haven for creativity and authenticity.  Given those attributes, it is somewhat surprising that Durham does not have multiple live music festivals to give more energy to the emerging club scene with venues like Motorco and the Casbah, and to accompany the Bull Durham Blues Festival.  If a new project has its way, that will all change.

The Art of Cool Project (AOCP), in its quest to bring a live music festival to downtown Durham, is pleased to announce a series of focus group sessions to be held in the large classroom at American Tobacco Underground, from 7:00PM until 8:00PM. These one-hour sessions have been scheduled in order for the AOCP to get input from the community on what they hope to see in a music festival in Durham. The American Tobacco Underground is located at the corner of Blackwell and Pettigrew Streets in downtown Durham.

The first focus group session will take place Monday, October 15 and will address festival format and footprint considerations. Anyone who is interested in helping AOCP lock down a date, format and footprint are welcome. Specifically topics covered will be:
1. Picking the right date
2. Essential festival highlights
3. How large the footprint should be
4. Free versus ticketed events

This initial session will be co-moderated by Greg Lowenhagen, Director of Hopscotch, and Marc Lee, Blues Festival, Hayti Heritage, and WNCU radio announcer/emcee.

The full schedule of topics and the dates they will be discussed are as follows:
October 15th: Date/Format/Footprint
October 22nd: Venues/Ticketing
October 29th: Musical and Artistic Programming
November 5th: Fundraising/Sponsorships
November 12th: Food Trucks/Restaurants
November 19th: Traffic/Parking/Transportation
November 26th: Kids & Educational Activities
December 3rd: Volunteer Coordination/Sustainability
December 10th: Marketing/PR
 The Art of Cool Project Focus Group Sessions are open to the public. Anyone desiring to help bring a top-notch music festival to the Triangle and also to foster a world class jazz and live music culture is encouraged to attend one or all of the sessions. Come and give your “two cents.” Get in on the ground floor planning of a dynamic culture-changing event.

For more information and to R.S.V.P. for these focus groups, please sign up online.

Dedicated to increasing the visibility of the local vibrant, varied and surprisingly under-appreciated jazz and live music scene, The Art of Cool Project is a unique collaboration between the jazz and art communities to bring both creative mediums to supporters in an intimate concert setting. The Project also has additional goals of solidifying the Triangle as a metropolitan area with a world-class defined jazz culture by bring a Jazz Festival to Durham, as well as recognizing the need to keep jazz as part of America’s fabric by cultivating the genre in future generations. Bringing this festival to Durham is a step towards these goals. With its second year in existence, expect many exciting things to come from The Art of Cool Project.

To keep up with the latest The Art of Cool Project News, visit them online, on Facebook,or follow them on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sarah P. Duke Gardens Hosts Classes

Autumn has taken hold and now is the best time of the year for gardeners. The following classes will give you the information to succeed, register at 919-668-1707. Please join us for:

Andy Currin, Horticulturist and Avid Vegetable Gardener, and Jan Little, Director of Education and Public Programs, Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Learn how to open and prepare a bed for planting, basic soil improvement strategies, selecting plants, and planting skills. Class will work in the Discovery Garden to see theory in practice.
2 Saturdays, Oct. 6 & 13, 9 am-noon                      
Location: Doris Duke Center                                                  
Home Horticulture Certificate required course
Participant Limit: 15
Fee: $90; Friends $70
Pre-registration is required. Please call 919-668-1707 or email slsmith@duke.edu to reserve space. (parking pass included)

Expand your palette of plants with information from this class. Each season this class covers another group of approximately 75 plants suitable for North Carolina gardens. You will learn identification skills and design use, and understand the culture of each plant. The Fall program focuses on plants that shine in autumn, and late- blooming perennial flowers. Winter introduces plant silhouettes and evergreens. Each student receives a portfolio of photos showing the plants studied in each season.
Pre-registration is required. Please call 919-668-1707 or email slsmith@duke.edu to reserve space. (parking pass included)

Fall: Mary Musson, MLA and Landscape Designer
4 Saturdays, Oct. 13 & 20 -Nov. 10 & 17, 10 am-noon         
Location: Doris Duke Center                                                 
Participation Limit: 15
Fee: $110; Friends $90

FALL: Bobby Mottern, MLA and Director of Horticulture, Sarah P. Duke Gardens
4 Thursdays, Oct. 18-Nov. 8, 1-3 pm                                     
Location: Doris Duke Center                                                  
Participant Limit: 15
Fee: $110; Friends $90

Programs for Families:

Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden:  Family Workshops
What is growing in the Discovery Garden? Plant, harvest, taste, and learn about incredible edibles in these workshops that will engage the whole family.
ALL 5 SENSES: Saturday, Oct. 6, 1-2:30 pm
PLANTS AROUND THE WORLD: Thursday, Oct. 18, 4-5:30 pm
Fee: $10 per parent/child; $3 each additional sibling 
Location: Meet at the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden
Pre-registration is required. Please call 919-668-1707 or email slsmith@duke.edu to reserve space.  Parking pass will be emailed in advance

Invention Investigation for children ages 5-7; adult chaperone required
Did you know that Velcro was inspired by a plant? Learn about the endless ways that inventors adapt natural items for everyday use. Perhaps you will be inspired to create an invention of your own.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 3-4:30 pm
Location: Doris Duke Center
Fee: $6; Friends $5                                                  
Pre-registration is required; please call 919-668-1707, or email slsmith@duke.edu to reserve space.  Parking pass will be emailed in advance

For All to Enjoy:

MOVIES AT THE GARDENS: Free, drop-in activities
Join us for an outdoor movie series at the Gardens. Films will be shown at dusk, on the lawn  behind the Doris Duke Center. Bring a picnic and enjoy movies in the Gardens.
Wednesday, Oct. 10: The Blues Brothers (1980)
Wednesday, Oct. 24: Easy Rider (1969)

Time: approximately 8 pm
Parking: free after 5 pm
Food/drink: picnics are welcome; remove and dispose of trash off-site
Restrooms: in the Doris Duke Center
Weather cancellations: Please see our Twitter page for updates if rain is forecast. If rain cancels a film, it will be rescheduled.
General information: 919-684-3698
Pre-registration is required for classes. Please call 919-668-1707 or email slsmith@duke.edu to reserve space.

Durham Seeks Applicants for Neighborhood, Downtown Grants

DURHAM, N.C. – Durham business owners interested in funds to help improve their business locations should take note of three upcoming grant opportunities.

The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is now accepting applications for targeted areas inside the city limits for Retail and Professional Services Grants, Building Improvement Grants, and Sign and Facade Grants.

The only grant available to the Downtown Development Tier is the Retail and Professional Services Grant. Eligible projects will be considered for all three grant opportunities within the community development area outside of the Downtown Development Tier, including targeted corridors and projects within targeted urban growth areas. The targeted corridors inside the community development area are Angier Avenue and Driver Street; West Chapel Hill Street; Mangum Street; Fayetteville Street; East Main Street; and Holloway Street. The targeted urban growth areas are Wellons Village, North Roxboro Road, and Avondale Drive.

To assist applicants with identifying whether proposed projects are located within eligible geographic areas, a state-of-the-art mapping application has been developed by the City’s Geographic Information Systems’ Division.

Potential applicants interested in learning more about this grant opportunity may also attend a public information session on Monday, October 8, 2012, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the City Council Committee Room, located on the second floor of City Hall at 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham. 

Retail and Professional Services Grant
In order to be eligible for the Retail and Professional Services Grant, the project property must be a street level, retail business, restaurant or a certain professional or personal services business such as a childcare center or beauty salon. The applicant must be the owner of the property or have a fully signed lease and a letter of approval from the property owner supporting the proposed improvements. The business must be open at least five days a week, eight hours a day. Organizations that are not eligible to apply are religious organizations; government agencies or offices; businesses or private clubs that exclude minors as patrons; and residential projects.

Retail and Professional Services Grant recipients are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in matching funds from the City for a project that meets eligibility criteria and scores high enough in the competitive evaluation process. Only funds spent on work performed after City approval of the grant are eligible for reimbursement. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to security systems, telephone systems, point of sale equipment, kitchen equipment, millwork, built-in display furnishings and shelving, HVAC, coolers, plumbing, demolition, flooring, grease traps, sprinkler systems, electrical, installation of walls, package and labeling equipment and similar items.
Building Improvement Grant
The Building Improvement Grant requires that eligible applicants own the building at the time of application and the project must be private property and non-residential. Capital investment improvements must be on an existing building having vacant spaces for the purpose of improving and/or upgrading the interior and exterior in order to make the first floor more rentable or "retail/restaurant-ready." Grant parameters include the following:
·       If the project is within the community development area, the minimum total project capital investment must be at least $187,500. 
·       If the project is within a targeted portion of the urban growth area, the minimum total project capital investment must be at least $300,000. 

Sign and Facade Grant
The Sign and Facade Grant’s objective is to assist business owners and improve the pedestrian experience in select neighborhoods inside the city limits by enhancing the visibility and appearance of businesses through signage and facade improvements that are physically, historically, and architecturally compatible with relevant design guidelines.

Signage improvements include costs related to the design, fabrication, refurbishment, and installation of signs.  Facade improvements must be made to the exterior of one or more sides of the building and/or property visible from a public street or municipal parking lot. At least 50 percent of facade improvements must be attributed to costs associated within the following categories: 1) restoration, repair, or replacement of windows, doors, exterior walls, chimneys, or other architectural elements; 2) exterior painting; 3) awnings, marquees, and related exterior lighting and electrical fixtures; 4) masonry repair and cleaning; 5) non-flat roof repair for portion noticeable from the public line of site; 6) exterior work necessary for conversion to a retail or entertainment storefront; 7) removal of modern facades  in order to restore back to vintage quality; 8) restoration of vintage elements; and 9) removal of deteriorated building materials, such as plywood or metal.

The maximum incentive per business or address shall not exceed $2,500 for the signage portion of the grant and $5,000 overall. In no case shall the incentive exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. Funds will be provided through reimbursement upon completion of the project and submission of appropriate documentation proving compliance with relevant design guidelines and costs. Sign and Facade Grant applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis with funding subject to availability; there is no deadline to apply for this particular grant. A decision as to funding will be made within 15 business days of the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development receiving a completed grant application. Information and guidance on signs may be found on the Durham City-County Inspections Department Web page.  

The deadline to apply for a Retail Professional Services Grant or a Building Improvement Grant is noon on Thursday, November 8, 2012. Sign and Facade grants are accepted on a rolling basis. All efforts will be made to evaluate and determine funding requests within 45 days of the submission deadline. The City anticipates notifying applicants of their award status by January 14, 2013. 

Interested applicants may also contact Reginald Jones, economic development coordinator with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, by email at Reginald.Jones@DurhamNC.gov or by phone at (919) 560-4965, ext. 15207.

DCVB Wins Top Awards

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), the official marketing agency for Durham, won two platinum awards (highest honor) from the state-wide Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina

The 2010-11 Annual Progress Report won in the Local Constituent Communications: Annual Report category, and a new sales prospecting piece for meeting planners also won in the Destination Publications: Niche Marketing category.

DCVB submits its work for consideration annually. Awards to Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are broken down into categories based on the size and budget of the organization.

Recognized nationally for best practices and excellence in Destination Marketing, DCVB has received more than 135 awards and recognitions over the past 15 years. 

Such recognition serves as affirmation of one the organization's most important core values:  CANI – Continuing and Never-Ending Improvement. 

Visitors Want and NEED Better Signage

DCVB provides assistance to thousands of individuals each year who stop by the Official Durham Visitor Information Center seeking directions, recommendations and helpful advice.  Many sign the guest book and jot down observations and comments.  Others provide feedback later, responding to surveys DCVB sends inquiring about the visit.

Two topics that receive the most negative feedback are appearance and wayfinding, such as these recent comments:

  • A female from Pennsylvania says, "There are so many trees, sometimes signs are not clearly seen until you are upon them."
  • A female from Indiana who was here for business and pleasure remarked, "I had an easy time getting from seminar to seminar.  Outside of that I had trouble finding things."
  • "[Durham] definitely needs to invest in better signage.  [I] ended up turning around many, many times after no warning of exits and changes," according to a visitor from Tennessee.
  • A male from Chapel Hill commented, "Main Street desperately needs repaving, and the lights are not timed so I always hit every red light."
  • A female from Maryland noted, "The old town area is not so good in terms of appearance..."

According to a recent survey of residents, only slightly more than 20% agree that Durham has good signage and wayfinding.  More than half of Durham's residents disagree or strongly disagree with that statement.  Likewise, only 15% of Durham residents do NOT believe that appearance should be a high community priority.

Durham has made strides in both of these areas, but finding solutions to these issues are critical in encouraging repeat visitation.

A Bull of a Time in Durham

One of DCVB’s jobs is to get Durham on the list for consideration as a place to visit.  One of the most successful tools a destination marketing organization can use is “earned media” otherwise called public relations. 

DCVB first met Margie Goldsmith while participating in a media mission last January with the NC Division of Tourism.  After pitching several stories to her, Margie agreed to come for a visit.  Here is an article that came from that visit.  DCVB hopes it is the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship.