Liberty Arts’ vision is to be the heart of what will be the most popular sculpture arts destination in the South.
Liberty Arts is a sculpture studio and foundry whose purpose is to enrich our communities with arts experiences that inspire, empower, educate and entertain. We
- facilitate the creation of quality, saleable works of art
- attract innovative and accomplished sculptors
- educate aspiring artists and incubate their careers
- inspire enthusiasm in our community for the sculpture arts, and
- provide easy access to skills associated with the industrial arts.
We fulfill our mission in a way that provides an adventure to participants and visitors alike.
What is Liberty Arts?
Founded in 2001, Liberty Arts serves an an incubator in which artists work together to teach, learn, and inspire. All artists also take on public and private commissions, in addition to exhibiting and selling their work at the Liberty Arts Gallery in the Cordoba Center for the Arts.
What is a Foundry?
A foundry is a place in which metal (typically aluminum, bronze, or iron) is melted in a furnace and then poured into prepared molds. Liberty Arts runs a foundry located in The George Watts Hill Pavilion for the Arts in Durham’s Central Park, at which you can routinely find artists preparing molds or pouring molten metal.
Where did Liberty Arts get its name?
For the first 10 years after its founding, Liberty Arts Studio was housed in the historic Liberty Warehouse. This 200,000 square foot building was built in the late 1930s with additions in the early 1940s, and served as a thriving tobacco auction and warehouse for over 40 years. Though the last tobacco auction was held in 1984, Liberty Warehouse was destined for a new life housing artists and non-profits, including Liberty Arts and The Scrap Exchange. However, the spring of 2011 was particularly rainy, and the roof of the warehouse finally succumbed to age and neglect on May 14th. The building was condemned, the tenants relocated, and the future of this historic landmark remains unclear.
Where can I see Liberty Arts in Durham?
Nearly everyday, artists are working in the studio located in the Cordoba Center for the Arts at 923 Franklin Street, behind the Golden Belt complex. Check the calendar to see if there’s a metal pour at the foundry in the George Watts Hill Pavilion adjacent to the Farmer’s Market or if a class is being taught at either of our locations. If you’d like to see the works produced at Liberty Arts, be sure to stop by the Gallery at the Franklin Street location. Some of the pieces cast at Liberty Arts are also visible in downtown Durham including, “Major” the Bull in the CCB Plaza and the historical markers on Parrish Street, both designed and created by Michael Waller and Leah Foushee Waller. Many of the artists also exhibit their work at local galleries, and you can find more information on the artist pages.
How can I get involved?
There are many ways that you can support Liberty Arts! You can take a class from one (or more) of the many talented artists – check out the class page for more information on what’s being offered in the future. Check out our events page and mark your calendars with the date of the next metal pour. Also be sure to stop by our studio warehouse at 923 Franklin Street. We often have many pieces on display in our gallery for you to admire or purchase. Finally, if you’d like, you can always Donate to further our goals of sharing art with the public in Durham.