Public Art

Elemental Landscapes at Southern Community Park

By Laura Haddad & Tom Drugan
Installed 2009

Located at Southern Community Park.

Using onsite natural materials, artists Haddad & Drugan created a series of landscape art installations called Elemental Landscapes. Made from salvaged boulders and trees, the installations reveal and surround different elements of earth, air, water, and flora. Installations include:
  • Water The boulder-ringed wetlands bowl
  • Air A circle of large rocks creating a community gathering place
  • Cairns Sets of stacked stones marking the park entrances
  • Stone markers Etched with references of historic and contemporary places of Chapel Hill

Tanyard Branch Bridge

By Leo Gaev
Installed 2018

Located on the Tanyard Branch Trail.

In 2018, metalsmith Leo Gaev was commissioned to create art for the bridge on the Tanyard Branch Trail connecting Umstead Park to the Northside neighborhood. Lining the bridge are 43 steel silhouettes inspired by folks going about their daily lives.

Merritt’s Pasture Bike Racks

By Al Frega
Installed 2011

Located at  Merritt’s Pasture.

Created in 2011 by artist Al Frega, the racks are made from recycled brake drums from Chapel Hill Transit buses.

Magnolia Exotica

By Carl Regutti

Located at Homestead Park.

Inspired by the many colors of a peacock, Magnolia Exotica is made of an innovative type of stainless steel that produces different hues in the light.

Historical Markers

Freedom Fighters Gateway

Installed 2017

Located at the corner of W. Rosemary St. and Roberson St.

The Freedom Fighters Gateway shares a glimpse into the Civil Rights movement with photos and oral histories, marking the entrance to the Northside Neighborhood. Built of Chatham stone and features eight black, granite slabs.

Chapel Hill Nine Historical Marker

By Stephen Hayes
Installed in 2020

Located at 452 W Franklin St.

After community engagement and a series of design workshops, the marker was envisioned as a fusion of public art and historical monument. Designed by Durham artist Stephen Hayes, with project management by Alicia Hylton-Daniel, it features documentary photography from the era, the names and ages of the Chapel Hill Nine, and a base that evokes the rock walls of the Northside neighborhood where this and many other demonstrations and actions were planned.

Memorial Benches

Downtown Window Art

Infinite

By L Jamal Walton
Installed 2021

Located at the former Blue Spoon Creamery

ARTIST STATEMENT

As penance for their last caper, Captain Evil and Diabla used their community service hours to create a short PSA about love and hope. Find out more at evildiabla.com

 

 

Oasis in the Middle of a Storm

By Kiara Sanders
Installed 2021

Located at Four Corners Grille.

ARTIST STATEMENT

This artwork is based off of a real life scene that I caught in downtown Durham. It was November 7th, and the election results had everyone anxious. It was then announced who the projected winner was, and everyone flooded the streets. The pandemic had been an entirely joyless experience, from unrest to protests, but to see dancing people, waving arms out cars, and to remember what hoped looked like will always live in my memory.

Successions

By Renzo Oretega
Installed 2021

Located at TOPO Distillery.

ARTIST STATEMENT

“Successions” mural is about the different cycles and transitions that families go through over the years. They are experiencing departures, absences, breaks, and reconciliations that are part of the family bond dynamics. This artwork tribute the relatives who left and did not return and the hope of a reunion.

HOPE

By Luis Franco
Installed 2021

Located at 501 W Franklin Street.

ARTIST STATEMENT

The art displays a woman wearing a face mask, with a message. This message is the word “Hope” to inspire everyone who is persevering through this pandemic. Right now we can use some hope as the world has experienced loss and quarantine.

We, Too, Sing America

By Antonio Alanis
Installed 2021

Located at 161 E Franklin Street.

ARTIST STATEMENT

The piece titled “We, Too, Sing America” pays homage to Langston Hughes’ poem “I, too.” I dedicate this piece to all the essential workers and people of color who continue to keep the United States afloat before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Shakti – The Power Within

By Sampada Agarwal
Installed 2020

Located at Que Chula Tacos

Sampada wrote a wonderful blog sharing her intention behind the piece. Read the full story here.

Welcome Furriends

By Julienne Alexander

Learn More About Downtown Windows

Colorful Crosswalks

Temporary art designs to enhance the downtown experience.

Bricks

By Amy Hoppe
Installation currently being installed January 2020

Located at the intersection of Rosemary St. & Church St, this is the newest of the four projects. Hoppe’s design references a historical element in Chapel Hill’s architecture — brick sidewalks and buildings throughout downtown and campus.

Old Well

By Rachel Herrick
Installed March 2017

Located at the intersection of Cameron Avenue and Wilson Street. This crosswalk depicts one of the most iconic symbols of UNC-Chapel Hill, the Old Well.  Herrick chose to portray the Old Well because of its importance to the history of the school and surrounding area.

Barcodes

By Mary Carter Taub
Installed March 2017

Located at the intersection of East Rosemary and Henderson.  The lines are intended to replicate UPC barcodes with pedestrians “scanning” the UPC barcode as they walk across mimicking a real-life barcode.  The UPC barcode has local roots in the surrounding Triangle — it was invented in the 1970’s by IBM in Raleigh’s Research Triangle Park.

Walk

By Lope Max Diaz
Installed March 2017

Located across from Shortbread Lofts on West Rosemary Street. His design incorporates minimalist geometric patterns with colors and symbols of Chapel Hill and the University. If you look closely, the design abstractly spells out “walk.”

Learn About Colorful Crosswalks

Art + Transit Bus Shelters

Enlivening the transit experience.

Ms. Cotten

By Kiara Sanders
Installed 2020

Located at the bus shelter at Ephesus Church Road at Hamlin Park.

Artist Kiara Sanders depicted local blues legend Elizabeth Cotten in her painting. Elizabeth Cotten was born in what is now Carrboro and is renowned for her unique guitar playing style.

Pillar

By L Jámal Walton
Installed 2020

Located at the bus shelter at Brookside Condos on Hillsborough Street.

Pillar features the Greek Goddess Athena, who is on the Town of Chapel Hill seal. According to history, the Town leaders chose her to symbolize Chapel Hill as she represents civilization, knowledge, reasoning, logic, and wisdom. For this project, Athena is illustrated in a comic book style sharing her stories while watching over the “Southern Part of Heaven” that embraces the shape and colors of the Chapel Hill flag.

 

 

Connected

By Gabriela Amaya-Baron
Installed 2020

Located at the bus shelter at the Harris Teeter in Meadowmont.

Connected uses network imagery and street map patterns to symbolize ways that humans connect, whether to place, to information and data, to history and culture, or to each other.

Have A Really Good Day

By Jermaine Powell 
Installed 2020

Located at the bus shelter at Shadowood Apartments on M.L.K. Jr. Blvd.

In Have A Really Good Day, Powell hopes to remind people to enjoy the ride and make friends along the way. “I think my paintings are a beautiful example of where I live and the people who make my life worth living.” -JP

Distant Futures

By Charles Chace
Uninstalled 2021

ARTIST STATEMENT
“In this work I’m attempting to create a digital image with a series of analog procedures. Starting by cutting sheets of paper into small triangles. The triangles are then unidirectionally stacked creating a three dimensional surface that allows an interplay of light and shadows. I’m less concerned with developing shapes or predetermined images than I am with developing random and intuitive patterns. These patterns create a digital landscape that approaches an image similar to scrambled television.”

 

The Ooom Pah Band

By Joel Sobelson
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at Glen Lennox Shopping Center.

“To bring a smile to both young and old how about a circus-like sense of fun, color and enjoyment. I don’t know about you but If you look closely you can actually hear the fun um-pa-pa of the band. ” – Joel Sobelson on The Ooom Pah Band

Kindness Matters

By Helen Seebold
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at Caldwell St by Northside Elementary.

In Kindness Matters, Seebold explores how we can make a difference in our community by stopping and taking a moment to be kind. She hopes the mural can help people shift their perspective and invite the viewer to become part of a movement to enlighten our minds and open our hearts.

Star Crossed Lovers

By Britt Flood
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at University Place.

Star Crossed Lovers is a continuous line piece that depicts two figures connected by line and color, symbolizing connection and fate.

We’re Here

By John DeKemper
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at South Columbia St.

We’re Here uses bright acrylic paint and glitter to recreate a traditional rainbow Pride flag. Glitter has a conceptual and material tie historically to the LGBT community. DeKemper encourages accessibility to pedestrians and commuters.

Umbrella

By Sarahlaine Calva
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at Airport Gardens.

Using a signature style and vibrant color palette, Calva weaves in raindrops and flowers to depict how one must face trials and obstacles in order to grow and bloom. Growth is a beautiful thing that requires effort and patience.

“I believe it would be a nice touch to the city while also serving as a reminder to persevere.” – Sarahlaine Calva

Who We Are

By Chloe Strauss
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at Franklin Woods Apartments.

Strauss’ art is inspired by diversity and helping others “to see aspects of themselves shown as beautiful and important.”

What Just Happened?

By Ron Liberti
Installed 2018

Located at the bus shelter on Southern Village Park & Ride Lot.

Ron Liberti’s What Just Happened? features altered stills from the final scene of the 1967 The Graduate where a bride runs out of her own wedding and hops on a city bus another suitor.

Stories/Histories

By Wendy Spitzer, 2018
Uninstalled 2020

Formerly located at the bus shelter at  Ridge Road

Wendy Spitzer is known for her altered vintage postcards piecing together unusual images and historical photographs of iconic Chapel Hill landmarks.

Slow Roll

By Mary Carter Taub, 2018
Uninstalled 2019

Formerly located at the bus shelter at  Carrboro Town Hall

Taub created a super-sized, abstract drawing made of brightly colored duct tape applied directly to the bus shelter windows.

A Mouthful of Sand

Photo by Jim Wallace
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter at the Rosemary St. & Columbia St. Parking Lot.

A Mouthful of Sand features a quote from Harold Foster, a leader in the Chapel Hill Civil Rights movement.

“Man, this town is hard to crack. It’s called a liberal place, but that’s a mirage man. When you go to get water, you just get a mouthful of sand.”
Quote from Harold Foster, from John Ehle’s book, The Free Men.

I Raised My Hand To Volunteer

Photo by Jim Wallace
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter in front of Moe’s Southwest Grill on Franklin Street.

I Raised My Hand To Volunteer features a quote from Karen Parker, the first African American woman to graduate from UNC- Chapel Hill.

“On Saturday, the 14th, I decided to go to jail. It was not fun at all.” This was in December 1963 during a time when hundreds of people were arrested for protests and when those protests occasionally turned violent.

We Were Troublemakers

Photo by Jim Wallace
Installed 2019

Located at the bus shelter in front of The Graduate Hotel on Franklin Street.

We Were Troublemakers features a quote from Harold Foster, a leader in the Chapel Hill Civil Rights movement.

“We were troublemakers. We questioned authority and challenged it head on.”

Learn About Art + Transit

Murals

Telling the story of our community

Elizabeth Cotten Mural

By Scott Nurkin
Installed 2020

Located on the 111 N. Merritt Mill Road on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro line.

As part of the North Carolina Musicians Mural Project, the Elizabeth Cotten mural honors the local blues legend and her lasting impact on the community. Ms. Cotten is renowned for her distinctive musical style, created by playing left-handed on a right-handed guitar. Many of her songs reference her early life in North Carolina, including her most iconic song, “Freight Train.” This mural is a collaboration between the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
Chapel Hill Public Library staff tell Elizabeth Cotten’s story on Episode 8 of the Re/Collecting Chapel Hill podcast.

Listen Now

Water’s Perfect Memory

By Max Dowdle
Installed 2020

Located in the meadow where the Lower Booker Creek Trail connects with East Franklin Street.

ARTIST STATEMENT

The water of Booker Creek runs day and night, trickling along with sunrise and sunset. While deer feed, raccoons scavenge, squirrels nibble, foxes sneak, coyotes hunt, birds watch from above, and humans enjoy their walks, the water continues to travel its well-worn cut in the earth, remembering all that occurs around it.

Learn About Murals