Durham Arts Council’s CenterFest

We have shared information about some of the great programs the Durham Arts Council provides in the past, namely their Toddler Art Workshop and their Clay Studio. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the CenterFest Arts Festival so I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the DAC and to make plans to attend the Festival this weekend. Here is a closer look at this fantastic organization….

With 60 years of history as an anchor for cultural life in Durham, Durham Arts Council creates community through the active involvement of artists, teachers, students, business partners, friends and donors.

The Durham Arts Council Community Arts School provides accessible, high quality, continuing arts education for children through adults.  We offer over 600 classes and workshops each year in clay, drawing and painting, photography, digital arts, printmaking, jewelry, glass, dance, and group and individual music lessons.  The DAC School also has a Summer Arts Camp for rising kindergarteners through 13 year olds, and Intersession Camps.  The Durham Arts Council CAPS program has partnered with the Durham Public Schools and many other community agencies to place professional artists in public and private school classrooms throughout Durham and the surrounding counties.  CAPS artists provide creative and interactive residencies that teach core subjects (math, science, writing, and social studies), character education, and a variety of life skills through the arts.  The CAPS program impacts the lives of over 20,000 students each year by enhancing their understanding of core subjects and their appreciation for the arts and different cultures.

The impact from  Durham Arts Council programming is best expressed through the individuals who participate in our programming. Cassandra is one example of a child, and now young adult, whose life has been impacted by the DAC. In Cassandra’s words:

“Eleven summers of my life have been spent in the halls, galleries, and theatres of the Durham Arts Council.  These summer camp experiences proved to be some of the most definitive and enriching moments of my childhood.  As a current rising junior in high school and an aspiring professional performer, I tend to focus more on the future and new endeavors, rather than past experiences.  But, I still find myself returning to this same building each summer to assist with the one program that shaped so much of me, the Durham Arts Council’s Summer Arts Camp.  With each return, I find myself realizing the weight of gratitude I feel towards the faculty, staff, and all those who have impacted me in this wonderful camp.

“The Durham Arts Council PSI theatre stage, used during the final performances of each camp session, is the first stage I ever set foot on.  From the moment I was given my first opportunity to perform, I was hooked.  The encouraging feel of the camp and its instructors only made my newfound passion thrive, and before I knew it, I was performing in plays, ballets, and musicals across the triangle.  Still, the PSI theatre will always feel a bit magical to me.  It’s the stage where I first felt the rush of applause.  It’s the stage where I found my calling.”

CentreFestEach fall for the past 40 years, juried fine artists, craftsmen and performers from across the country gather together in Downtown Durham to amaze, inspire, delight and entertain you at Durham Arts Council’s Centerfest.  Families from all around the Triangle come for the art and stay for the fun. CenterFest’s Creative Kids Zone provides hands-on arts activities, face painting, train rides and more for kids of all ages. Join us for this family friendly event and see what the Durham Arts Council has to offer. We look forward to seeing you at CenterFest on September 20 and 21, 2014!

We invite you to engage in the arts each day and join us in our mission of promoting excellence in and access to the creation, experience and active support of the arts for all the people of our community.  Durham Arts Council’s Web site can be found at www.durhamarts.org.


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