Durham, North Carolina is home to some of the most visually exciting artists and art galleries in the South. From pottery, paintings, sculptures, and visual art displays by local artists to world-famous exhibitions from across the globe, get your art fix at every corner of the Bull City. Visit these local art galleries and showcases year-round for true inspiration.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Since their opening in 2005, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has been as much of a visually compelling fixture in the Bull City as Duke Gardens. Formerly the Duke University Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum boasts some of the finest exhibitions from across the world. According to their website, the “strengths of the museum’s permanent collection are Medieval art, art of the Americas (largely pre-Columbian), Classical Antiquities and modern and contemporary art.”

Syzygy by Maria Berrio
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Some of their permanent and many of their visiting collections of contemporary art exhibits are focused on interdisciplinary art from artists of African descent. Pulling in visually compelling pieces centered around music, theater, environmentalism, and cultural identity from both the African continent and the American South, the Nasher Museum draws out our curiosity and asks us to self-reflect at every turn.

Click here to visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University website.

Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Hobson’s Choice by Nina Chanel 
Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Levitate by Radcliffe Bailey
Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Monumental head of a god or ruler
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

2001 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27705
(919) 684-5135

$7 Adults
$5 Seniors (65 and older)
$4 Non-Duke students with student ID
FREE admission for members, children 17 and under, active duty military and veterans (+5 guests), and FREE to the public every Thursday from 10 am to 9 pm

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 am to 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am to 9 pm (General admission is FREE all day)
Sunday: 12-5 pm

Pliedes Arts

Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Pleiades Arts is located at the Five Points area in downtown Durham by Pizzeria Toro and Cupcake Bar as part of a perfect Bull City downtown date triple threat. Spark the conversation in between dinner and dessert with engaging works by some of the Bull City’s best and brightest local artists.

Founded in 2013, Pleiades Arts engages and inspires with a socially focused drive and a constantly rotating menu of mixed media artist galleries every 6-8 weeks, a new upstairs artist every month, educational events, monthly receptions every Third Friday (from 6-9 pm), and a growing reputation of civic outreach partnerships. Check out their upcoming exhibits and events.

Click here to visit the Pleiades Arts website.

Sculpture with Razor Wire and Cloth
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

109 E. Chapel Hill St.
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 797-2706

Hours of Operation:
FREE admission to the public
Thursday: 12-7 pm
Friday: 12-8 pm
Saturday: 12-8 pm
Sunday: 12-3 pm

Other hours by appointment.

ALSO SEE: 30 Date Ideas in Durham under $25

21c Museum Hotel

Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Downtown Durham’s historic Hill Building was transformed in 2015 into the 21c Museum Hotel, bringing global ideas to the local community through modern art. You don’t even have to book a room to view a wide selection of sculptures, mixed media artwork, videos and more. 21c’s seasonally rotating galleries are open to the public 24/7, so walk in any time day or night with a date or your favorite people.

Photo: Gabriel Guillory

The 21c building itself is divided into several reimagined quarters, including a bank vault that serves as a lounge area on the bottom floor, a museum gift shop with a Virtual Reality simulator on the top floor, and thought-provoking sculptures of animals using every-day found objects at the hotel’s Counting House Restaurant and Bar. 21c is also host to a number of banquets, dance parties, and fundraisers throughout the year.

21c is the definition of exhilarating!

Click here to visit the 21c Museum Hotel website.

Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Fantasia by Enrique Gomez de Molina
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

111 North Corcoran Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 956-6700

Hours of Operation:
FREE and open to the public 365 days/year
Guided tours are offered Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 pm

Durham Arts Council

Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Voted “Best Art Gallery” in Durham Magazine’s 2017 “Best of Durham Competition,” the Durham Arts Council’s building is loaded with four exhibit spaces worth of paintings, ceramics, fiber arts, glass art, jewelry, digital photography, and other mixed media from Durham and the Triangle’s most talented artists.

Durham Arts Council’s building consists of the Allenton Gallery, the Semans Gallery, the Ella Fountain Pratt Legacy Gallery and the SunTrust Bank Galleries occupied by the Durham Art Guild. Every year, the Durham Arts Council produces CenterFest, Durham’s annual street arts festival, which occurs the third week of September.

Click here to visit the Durham Arts Council website.

SunTrust Gallery
Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Relic of a Nether Kingdom by Madelyn Smoak
Photo: Gabriel Guillory
Silent Drama by Jessica Burke
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

120 Morris Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 560-2709

Hours of Operation:
Monday through Saturday: 9 am to 9 pm
Sunday: 1-6 pm

Mural Durham

Durham Civil Rights by Brenda Miller Holmes and Comunity
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Wandering through downtown and beyond, you will notice vibrant murals (26 to be exact) adding a color and beauty to dozens of store-fronts and historic building walls. In collaboration with Duke Arts and Artstigators, Mural Durham is a living archive that captures the growing number of murals across Durham. Depicting everything from historic Black Wall Street and classic Durham advertisements, to abstract street-art graffiti and more, every mural is a true work of art.

Join in on Durham Mural Bike Tours the first Saturday of every month (May-November) from 10-11:30 am. Starting at Durham Central Park at 501 Foster Street, you’ll get a 90-minute tour of 13 amazing larger-than-life murals that decorate more than 5 miles of the Bull City. Bikes and helmets not included.

Get your Mural Durham Mural Finder booklet from the Durham Visitor Info Center (212 W Main Street #101) downtown and share your favorite mural shots on your Instagram feed with the tag #MuralDurham. Share 5 to get a special prize from the Visitor Center.

Visit the Mural Durham website.

Time Bridge by Odili Donald Odita
Photo: Gabriel Guillory

Durham, NC


Other Amazing Local Art Galleries to Visit in Durham

Cedar Creek Galleries – “Our focus is on representing local and regional fine craft, with an additional emphasis on outstanding craftsmanship found throughout the United States.”

1150 Fleming Road
Creedmoor, NC 27522
(919) 528-1041

Lyda Moore Merrick Gallery – “Showcasing contemporary African-American art and authentic African sculpture, the two-level art gallery hosts traveling exhibitions, curated shows, and works from emerging, mid-career, and established artists working on various subjects in a variety of media.”

Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 683-1709

NCCU Art Museum – “The NCCU Art Museum is a vital teaching resource and cultural institution on the campus of North Carolina Central University. It houses one of North Carolina’s leading collections of works by African-American artists and by others dealing with the black experience.”

North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville St.
Durham, NC 27707
(919) 530-6100

Gabriel Guillory
Author: Gabriel Guillory

I’m a freelance content writer and musician who is fueled by equal parts coffee, eclectic local menus, and the outdoors. I moved to the Bull City in the summer of 2015, having spent my whole life as a Louisiana native. Brick by brick, I’ve fallen in love with Durham’s entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to art, down-and-dirty nightlife, world-class food, and social diversity. When I’m not fumbling around with words and ideas, you can find me on a local hiking trail with my pack of five dogs or downtown catching a live band or pop-up dance party.