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Teen artists beautify Durham with bright murals

Posted August 3
Updated August 4

— A group of Durham teenagers are spending their summer trying to make their city more beautiful.

The artistic talents of the "Durham Mural Crew" are turning unremarkable things into stunning, vibrant works of art.

Timya Kerr, a rising ninth grader, is one of the artists turning drab, gray utility boxes on Durham street corners into masterpieces.

"We came up with these designs, all of us, ourselves," she said.

Each piece of art is catered to the community where it stands.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, so the fist symbolizes what we're saying, rise up, and be better than what the world may portray us to be," Kerr said.

Teen artists beautiful Durham with bright murals

The Durham Mural Crew was organized by Brenda Miller Holmes. She saw these boxes and knew there could be more.

"The overarching theme is not to impose art on a community, but to let the community have a voice on what art goes on in their neighborhood."

She asked the city for money, and the idea was funded.

"People stop and they're like 'Wow, the city is doing this for us?' So they're just really, just excited. And someone stopped yesterday and gave us $30 for lunch. They were like 'Lunch is on me today!' People are really, really happy about it," Holmes said.

The crew is painting three boxes this summer, and they hope to continue so that every block is bright and beautiful.

"I feel like we're bettering the community because they need something positive, so everyone can look at it and be able to take away something from it," artist Cailee Parker said.

The students working on the murals are all part of the City of Durham's Youth Work program.

The program gives paid internships to people ages 14 to 24. They hope to finish the murals by next week.


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  • Maja Kricker Aug 6, 1:19 p.m.
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    Thank you, young Durham artists for your wonderful paintings! I love what you are doing and raise my fist with you in power to change the world. You are our hope and our future.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Aug 4, 11:32 p.m.
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    If you want "art" try looking at the murals. These boxes just suck.

  • Joshua Phillips Aug 4, 7:48 a.m.
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    It's amazing what passes for good nature and civility these days. Here are some kids trying to do good things in their neighborhoods and you just want to critique their art. Get off your high horse and do something positive!

  • Wayne R. Douglas Aug 4, 1:14 a.m.
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    It's amazing what passes for "art" these days.