The Liberty Arts group reps itself as a ‘non-profit bronze casting facility’. This sentence doesn’t even scratch the surface of a determined group of artists, community players, and founders who have been part of the bourgeoning Durham art scene since 2001, and who took the roof collapse of the Liberty Warehouse last year not as a step backwards, but an opportunity to build something bigger and better. The length of their reach into the community has stretched to its greatest extent yet, giving individuals not only a chance to view their works, but an opportunity to create something themselves.1
While still maintaining their foundry out of Durham Central Park’s George Watts Pavillion, the group has been in the process of relocating their studio, workshop, and gallery space to the Cordoba Center for the Arts. The Cordoba Center for the Arts, a massive industrial space in what was previously a factory (and before that, old tobacco…) also houses another core part of Durham’s cultural scene, the Scrap Exchange.
March 16th marks the official grand opening of Liberty Arts at the Cordoba Center for the Arts. After an announcement from Mayor Bill Bell, who will hammer a ceremonial anvil, the doors will be officially opened to the new space. Local Durham favorites, LiLa, will perform a live set, and later in the evening there will be music by The Perculators. There will be food trucks, including the Parlour Ice Cream and Bike Coffee. There will also be staggered demonstrations throughout the night of the different specializations offered in many of Liberty Arts’s public classes and workshops. Demos will include glass blowing, forging and shop bots.
Past students work will be displayed in part of the gallery portion of the event, giving the community a chance to see what a bank manager can achieve in a few hours of practice in the group’s hands-on, come-as-you-are classroom environment.
Of course, the professionals will have some of their work on display too, including the sculptures molded in the live aluminum pour that the Clarion Content and Scenes from my Lunch Hour covered last month.
If you think you aren’t familiar with the work of Liberty Arts, you’re probably wrong. Their sculptures are a key part of the downtown Durham streetscape. They beautify our daily scenery, including the statue of ‘Major’, our beloved plaza bull, and the downtown loop sculptures commemorating ‘Black Wall Street.’ These are just a two examples of the pieces Liberty Arts’ artists have created in the literal and cultural centers of our beloved city.
Other Grand Opening night events will include a raffle with a grand prize of a free pass into one of Liberty Art’s workshops, as well as other prizes from various fabulous vendors in town, Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, Daisy Cakes, Wine Authorities and Old Havana, too name but a few, and a miniaturized statue of ‘Major.’
The night kicks off at 5:30 on March 16, as part of Durham’s 3rd Friday Art Walk. For more information, visit their website at www.libertyartscasting.org, or contact them directly at (919) 452-4702.
1Four Wednesdays, March 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 6pm-9pm, Classes offered in: Sand Casting in Aluminum, Classes cost $250 and are limited to six students at Liberty Arts Foundry facility adjacent to Durham Central Park. For more info contact Michael Waller at #919-452-8642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.