Murals in Durham

The view out our hotel window showed some faded wall art. I don’t know why I love these old advertisements so much, but I do. Do you see the mural in the distance?
I zoomed in to the scene above, and found another hidden piece of art. I never did spot her from the ground, but it was fun to see her from up above.

It’s hard to miss the wall art in Durham, North Carolina. Even if it’s not your thing (and it is my thing), you can’t help but notice. The visitor’s center has these great little booklets with a lot of murals mapped out. I programmed a walking route into my phone GPS and enjoyed my tour of the city that way. Understand that I found much more art than what was covered in the booklet. Sadly, two of the murals I sought have disappeared beneath new construction, so my guess is that the booklets must repeatedly be out of date due to new art and human progress.

Take a look at these murals. Some are really great:

In this location, the old wall was left standing, but newly constructed apartments grew next to this courtyard.
I walked around the crane and got a better look.
These large, beautiful paintings were on an apartment building next to a park.
And in the park was this fun sign with all of Durham’s sister cities.
I admired these so much. On the right, at the top, it says “DRINK LEMON KOLA.”
But I could not decipher this one. “Downtown. Find Your Ca–?” Find your car? Your cake? Your corn?
I liked these colourful penguins, and…
…their cousins up above.
This was probably my favourite wall of the entire trip. Pepsi Co., Wrigley’s, and Chiclets – three iconic American companies. I love how you can get your drink “At founts, or in bottles.”

There were a couple of murals I could not see for the foliage.

This mural was a destination located in the booklet. Good thing for the photo in the booklet or I might not have noticed it is another Durham bull.
I was heading for the mural, but got distracted by this curious piece of outdoor art. The marble block in the center is engraved “All the possibilities of stacking up to two3 to sit on.” I searched for a while, but could not find any information about the artist or the inspiration.
Durham Civil Rights Mural on the site of the Durham Arts Council. Artist Brenda Miller Holmes worked with Dr. Benjamin Speller, and organized 30 community members to paint this mural in 2013.
Above Mateo is an ad for Kimbrells Furniture Co. I made a note of this spot when I passed, and then when Pedro was done with his conference for the day, I brought him back to Mateo.

I think tapas is the best idea ever. Just order a bunch of small plates and share, and order more till you’re full. 🙂

As I mentioned to Lou in my earlier post, every time I walked out the door of the hotel, I found more art. It’s everywhere in Durham! In fact, as I have reviewed my photos, I keep finding more public art that I did not include in the last post. If you like sculpture, go back and take a look at the last post I made from Durham, because I have added more images.

19 thoughts on “Murals in Durham

  1. Thanks for posting all these mural pictures. I’m really getting into looking for them and enjoy seeing what other people find. I think I like the old ones as much as the new ones – the older ones help me picture what times might have been like years ago.

    1. Hi there, thanks for commenting. Are you in the Durham area or do you just mean you look out for murals in general? I am in the Portland, Oregon area, and began photographing and documenting murals there. Now I look for them everywhere I go. I agree with you: the old murals make me think about other times. Like the one I found in Baltimore: If you scroll about halfway down you can see that on a brick wall it says, “VOTE AGAINST PROHIBITION.”

      1. No I’m in the northeast so not near there, but I like looking out for them. Not too many in the suburbs where I am though! I’m going to check out your link next – thanks!

  2. An intriguing walk around. I, too, like those older, faded, adverts – I go for Car on the partly obliterated one. The walk around the crane certainly gave a better view.

    1. Alright, one vote for Car. I found the mural and the crane entirely by accident. One cannot tell from the outside of the brick facade what is on the inside. I only walked into the courtyard because of a sign that seemed funny to me. I walked in and took a photo, then when I turned around to leave, I found this huge, beautiful mural! Albeit hidden behind a crane and some trees.

  3. A magnificent walk idea. I’d love to do it as well and would be happy trying to spot as many as I could. I love them all, the penguins, the fish, the bakery, the really old ones, the bulls, and all the well-deserved food as well. But my favourite photo is the one of Pedro. 🙂

    1. That’s your favourite? ❤ You must miss us. That was from the evening, when we were on our way to visit a Lemur Center. I can hardly wait to show you! Anyway, yes, I wish you could have walked the tour of the city with me. I could have used your practiced eye at spotting things. I did get some good door photos, which I imagine I'll post eventually. Doors usually make me think of you 🙂

  4. Jacksonville had several of the ads from what seems like a different, simpler age, Crystal. But that age didn’t have the wonderful murals we have today. Another thought I have on the murals: Their production is creating a whole new generation of artists. I wonder how much of the impetus came from graffiti growing up? Fun collection! –Curt

      1. Look up “Banksy” on the Internet, Crystal. I think he is a great example of the evolution of graffiti artists. Then Google “world’s best graffiti artists’ for a number of other examples.

  5. I love these! Last year returning from a refuge trip I passed through a small town (Toppenish) east of the Cascades that had dozens of (well, 75) murals throughout town but none nearly as colorful as these! Such a cool way to dress up a town!

    1. I have noticed a few towns that do this on purpose: actively create an identity of having murals. I agree with you that it’s a good way to dress up a town. 75 is a lot of murals for Toppenish.

    1. I clearly love murals too, ha ha. We did have a good trip. Thank you! Mine was more fun, and Pedro said he was glad to have attended the conference and was able to talk to some experts in the machine learning field.

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