Downtown Durham, Inc., a nonprofit that the city contracts to work at the seam where the arts and development meet, started the annual Public Space Project in 2018, and it already has a short but strong track record of involving artists and non-artists alike in interesting, hard-to-define performances in unexpected spaces downtown.

Though the season itself is on hold until the coronavirus crisis passes, DDI announced the seven projects that its 2020 grants will fund, and it’s offering a sneak peek in a three-week series of online events at 1:00 p.m. for the next three Thursdays

When we do get to see the 2020 Public Space Project in action, we’ll see Ramya Kapadia and Sampada Agarwal’s Durham Warli Mural, which “seeks to involve members of the Durham community in the co-creation of a massive mural in the style of … an indigenous art form from Western India.”  And Chris Vitiello will create The Worry Cabinet, an antique armoire that dispenses poems for worries.

Musicians Will Hackney and BJ Warshaw debut Symphony for 100 Toy Keyboards, which is exactly what it sounds like, while Blackspace will bridge West African drumming and hip-hop in Pan-African Beats.

There will also be public participatory dance parties with Durham Independent Dance Artists, an experimental outdoor instrument by Jaguar Perry, and Derrick Beasley and Monét Noelle Marshall’s walking tour reconnecting the Hayti Heritage Center to the heart of Durham. 

The schedule of online events features Vitiello in his Poetry Fox guise on April 9, a “Mindful Movement” dance class with Raven Gibbs on April 16, and a Warli painting workshop with Sampada Agarwal on April 23. Tune in at 1:00 p.m. Thursdays, and dream about what it will be like when 100 people can get together to touch keyboards again.  

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at

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