Project: Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life is a documentary/public art project that grows out of local conversations about neighborhood goals in Southwest Central Durham, North Carolina. The project blends the Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professorship in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with collaborative documentary exploration and art-making in community settings across Durham. The project's open approach to building a loving community encourages diverse participation in the enhancement of the aesthetic environment, as large public art installations expand awareness of historic and contemporary persons and places in Southwest Central Durham.

Theme: True Community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity.  It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.  - Durham (s)hero Pauli Murray

Concept: Six neighborhoods make up Southwest Central Durham: Burch Avenue, Lyon Park, West End, Lakewood Park, Morehead Hill, and Tuscaloosa-Lakewood. Historically segregated into African American and Anglo American neighborhoods, this area is becoming more integrated and is striving to reach out to the many newly emerging Latino enclaves within its borders. The residents and organizations that make up the Quality of Life Project are working to break down economic, social, and cultural boundaries by building intentional bridges of common experience and shared concern.

Since 2003, the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) has worked with the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Project (QOL) to bring the arts and humanities to the task of community building through the documentary arts. This initiative merges practice and theory, expands the university classroom experience to include everyone, and promotes visual and cultural literacy among students and local residents.

The Face Up project embraces and advances CDS’ approach through an artist residency/public art process that engages and amplifies the voices and stories of community members through the creation of monumental works of art. The project connects faculty, students, staff, and Southwest Central Durham residents through an artistic endeavor, allowing them to access the power of creativity and discover new avenues to community membership and involvement.

Social collaboration transcends individual privileges, replacing separateness with equality and collective self-interest. By bringing people from diverse experiences and backgrounds together to be creative, a new, inclusive community evolves. Out of this positive shared experience comes an artistic representation of partnership and collaboration.

Planning:  Preparation for this project began with an exploration of the ever changing landscape of community. Project planning visits were inspired by a series of social collaborations at important community events—the first was The Consensus Workshop between QOL project members and Duke University representatives to develop strategies to orient students and others who are working in the neighborhoods; the second was the annual neighborhood CommUNITY festival held at the Shoppes at Lakewood; the third was a community charrette focused on the revitalization of the West Chapel Hill Street business district. Cook also spent time with Duke faculty, students, and administrators; CDS and Community Affairs staff; members of the QOL Project Steering Committee; leaders of community-based organizations; and residents of Southwest Central Durham. Brett and participants also toured Duke’s campus, visited the Art Department and the Nasher Museum of Art, traveled the neighborhoods by car and on foot, and combed the area for potential installation sites.

Project Activities: During the Spring 2008 residency, four social collaborations focused on learning together and highlighting connections as individuals and as loving community members took place:

Social Collaboration Schedule

•Thursday January 31, 2008

Get Involved!

Social Collaboration Number One  5PM – 8:30 PM

600 Foster Street Studio/Practice Center

•Saturday March 1, 2008

Community Art Fiesta

Social Collaboration Number Two 2 PM – 5 PM

Lakewood YMCA

2119 Chapel Hill Road, Durham North Carolina

Community Art Fiesta was a celebration for everyone to creatively build a loving community.  Food from neighborhood businesses, collaborative exercises about the Lakewood YMCA community, and an exhibition of work by local artists works to reflect some of the creativity of South West Central Durham. Mariachis and projections of documentary work from CDS complement the collaborative creation of large-scale public murals of Pauli Murray and the Virgen De Guadalupe. 

•Sunday April 13, 2008

West End Block Party

        Social Collaboration Number Three 4 PM – 7 PM

Lyon Park Field/Community Family Life & Recreation Center

1313 Halley Street, Durham, North Carolina

•Friday April 25, 2008

Durham Get Together

Social Collaboration Number Four 4PM – 8PM

The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham North Carolina

Durham Get Together was a celebration for everyone to creatively build a loving community. Local music, food, and a participatory exhibition at CDS document the multi-year project, Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life - a series of collaborative public installations that reflect past and present champions of Southwest Central Durham.


Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life

Duke University Center for Documentary Studies, Durham North Carolina

2006 - 2009

Project Pages:
Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life Documentary Video

Duke News
Community Art Fiesta Lakewood YMCA

Slide Shows
Project Beginnings
Consensus Workshop
Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life

Social Collaborations
Durham Get Together
1217 West Pettigrew
Center for Documentary Studies

West End Block Party
Lyon Park 
Spring Residency 2008

Community Art Fiesta
Lakewood YMCA
Spring Residency 2008

Get Involved!
600 Foster Street
Spring Residency 2008

Face Up: 
Telling Stories of Community Life

Public Installations
One Narrative
Creating a Face Up 
Power Object 

Selected Details
All Fourteen 
Original Artifacts
All Eight Locations

Brett Cook Original prepared polyester drawings

Course Information
Reconciling Different Worlds:  Art, Social Change & Documentary
DOCST 190S.01

Related Pages:
Artist Brett Cook.pdf Reflection and Action Document Magazine

Radio Interview on WUNC’sThe State of Things

Face Up:  Website
From the Center for Documentary Studies

Face Up schedule News and Video

Fall 2007 Residency
Healing and Creating 
in the Present Moment 
Fall 2007 Residency

Background Links
Durham Quality of Life Partnership
Center for Documentary Studies
Lehman Brady Fellowship info
Pauli Murray Biographical info
Photographer Emma Raynes 
Photographer Elena Rue
Photographer Christopher Sims
For more information:         919 660-3676 or 660-3664Movie_-_Face_Up_Documentary_March_2008_Version_-_2008.htmlMovie_-_Face_Up_Documentary_March_2008_Version_-_2008.htmlMovie_-_Face_Up_Documentary_March_2008_Version_-_2008.htmlMovie_-_Face_UP_Lakewood_YMCA_Fiesta_Duke_News_2008.htmlMovie_-_Face_UP_Lakewood_YMCA_Fiesta_Duke_News_2008.htmlMovie_-_Face_UP_Lakewood_YMCA_Fiesta_Duke_News_2008.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Project_Beginnings.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Project_Beginnings.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Project_Beginnings.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Durham_Get_Together_2008.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_West_End_Block_Party.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Community_Fiesta_2008.htmlOpening_-_Face_Up_Exhibition_-_2008.htmlOpening_-_Face_Up_Exhibition_-_2008.htmlOpening_-_Face_Up_Exhibition_-_2008.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_Pauli_Murray_in_the_World.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_installation_Samples.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_installation_Samples.htmlSlideshow_-_Face_Up_installation_Samples.htmlProject_-_Face_UP_-_Spring_2008_files/Face%20Up%20document%20article.pdfProject_-_Face_UP_-_Spring_2008_files/Face%20Up%20document%20article.pdfProject_-_Face_UP_-_Spring_2008_files/Face%20Up%20document%20article.pdf