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What About Us? Durham Wants To Be Home of Art Institute

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Durham wants to be the home of the future Sanford Institue of Art.(WRAL-TV5 News)
RALEIGH — A multimillion-dollar arts center is on the table for the Triangle, but the great unknown about the Sanford Art Institute is where it will go.

A revitalized Durham is a potential location, nestling the institute among the tobacco buildings due to be renovated.

"Were this to be located in Durham, I think it would offer a tremendous advantage," says state treasurer Harlan Boyles.

But the Capital City sees an advantage, as well. Put the institute in Raleigh, near the N.C. Museum of Art, making the area a huge art park.

"It's great to have a major performing arts center so close to a visual arts center," says

The Sanford Institute is the vision of former governor and senator Terry Sanford. Even as he lay dying of cancer, he was working on the project -- an art complex with performance halls and classrooms. It is a $200 million, 200,000-square-foot project on paper, but it has no home.

Some believe that Raleigh is home to too many art centers already. But others say that as Raleigh grows, so will room for more art venues.

Gov. Hunt wants the institute in Raleigh, a final crowning touch as he leaves office. But Durham does not want to be slighted.

"Durham has to be looked upon as a significant part of the Triangle area," Boyles says.

A legislative committee meets next week to address the idea of putting the Sanford Institute in Raleigh. It will make a recommendation and pass it along to the Council of State for a final decision. The Council meets Dec. 19.


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