Durham Cultural Roadmap

“Durham is changing rapidly and we want to preserve the stories that make Durham unique and important while planning for expansion and growth in the arts and cultural sector. Sustainability is critical as we explore ways to support our creative community in every way.”

Parts of a Whole - Bethany Bash
'Parts of a Whole' - Bethany Bash
Photo: Curtis Beach

Durham residents are invited to collaborate and inform the Durham Cultural Roadmap, shaping the future of arts and culture in our city.

The Durham Cultural Roadmap is a planning process that will focus on community-wide, equitable engagement and create a five-year cultural plan for the Durham community. Community engagement activities will begin in late summer 2023, using interviews, listening sessions, community surveys, workshops, and other channels. Once broad engagement is complete, the plan will be developed and presented in the summer of 2024 to the community, the Durham Board of County Commissioners, and the Durham City Council.

Our Timeline

Phase I

Months 1-7

Phase I

AMS and Team Will Conduct 

  • Background & Project Launch
  • Key Stakeholder Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Community Survey
  • 360° Market Scan
  • Visioning Workshop
  • Community Input
  • Phase 1 Review Meeting

Phase II

Months 5-11

Phase II

AMS and Team Will Provide

  • Potential Operating Structures
  • Exemplars
  • Funding Analysis
  • Assets and Opportunities
  • Community Input
  • Phase II Review

Phase III

Months 10-15

Phase III

AMS and Team Will Share

  • Roadmap Goals & Strategies
  • Draft Cultural Roadmap
  • Public Presentations
  • Final Roadmap

The planning process is being guided by AMS Planning & Research (AMS), a cultural planning firm with extensive experience in active, creative engagement. This process will involve the entire community, and AMS has the expertise to make recommendations on contemporary best practices for addressing the issues facing Durham artists, cultural organizations, and creative workers. 

The Prism - Steven Hayes
'The Prism' - Steven Hayes

Developed with Local Creative Community Partners

The Durham Cultural Roadmap, co-created by AMS and local creative community partners, is bringing together local artists and creative workers to develop locally relevant engagement opportunities during the planning process. This infusion of local voices, including those of writers, performers, and other creative workers, from various artistic backgrounds is key to reflecting the beauty, uniqueness, and vitality of Durham’s cultural community. 

Meet the S.T.A.R. Team

Call for Creative Community Partners

Convocatoria para Aliados Creativos de la Comunidad

Background for the Cultural Roadmap

The 2004 Durham Cultural Master Plan approved by both the City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners, has accomplished many of its goals and objectives. Durham has changed and grown mightily since 2004, and a new strategy is needed to support and amplify the role of our cultural community for the benefit of all residents and visitors. 

Pauli Murray and the Virgin de Guadalupe - Brett Cook
'Pauli Murray and the Virgin de Guadalupe' - Brett Cook
Crackling - Jai Martin
'Crackling' - Mary Carter Taub
Photo: Estlin Haiss

Throughout 2021, the Durham Cultural Advisory Board engaged artists and cultural workers regarding challenges and opportunities. Based on the findings of this work, the board requested that the Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners jointly support the development of a new cultural plan. The City and County have each contributed $150,000 toward this planning process. On October 3, 2022, the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Commissioners entered a joint agreement to govern the development of the new Durham Cultural Roadmap.

Our Funders

The Durham Cultural Advisory Board encouraged Durham’s philanthropic community to support this planning effort. We are grateful to the agencies below for their generous support of community engagement efforts during this planning process.


The City of Durham Cultural and Public Art Program, working closely with the Durham County Public Art Program, is providing day-to-day project management for the Durham Cultural Roadmap.

Annette L. Smith, Project Manager



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Durham Central Park
Photo: Ryan Moeller