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    Artists sold some of their work out of tents lined up on East Chapel Hill Street at the CenterFest Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.
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    Audiences at the CenterFest Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24 watched hundreds of artists perform on one the six stages.
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    Trainers from Taekwondo 2XCELL demonstrate martial arts techniques at the CenterFest Arts Festival on Satruday Sept. 24.
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    Jamie Wolcott, known as The Durham Street Piano Player, played tunes that echoed down Main Street.

CenterFest Arts Festival takes over Downtown Durham


More than 140 artists showcased their handcrafted work at this year’s CenterFest Arts Festival in downtown Durham.

CenterFest is North Carolina’s longest running juried outdoor arts festival, held annually to highlight the talent of visual artists.

Vendors displayed and sold handmade jewelry, paintings, purses, wallets and clothing.

But CenterFest isn’t just about art. Food trucks, vendors, non-profit organizations, Henna artists, civic groups and others were present at the two-day event.

More than 20 non-profit organizations participated, including Sister Cities of Durham, Scrap Exchange, and Teach Kenya.

A variety of food caterers offered everything from seafood and Jamaican cuisine to ice cream and fried Oreos.

The event’s six stages allowed more than 600 performers to grace the stage, providing live entertainment for the event’s more than 33,000 visitors.

The Silver Drummer Girl played for tips as crowds walked by at the CenterFest Arts Festival on Saturday Sept. 24.
The Silver Drummer Girl plays for tips at the CenterFest Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The line-up of artists and performers was the largest CenterFest ever.

“I think the festival was nice,” said Durham resident Adam Sassi. “The set up was beautiful — I was just expecting more, something out of the ordinary.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Durham Street piano player wowed attendees.

“He was great,” said Torian Linton. “His set-up and vibrant colored piano drew attention, while his piano skills kept it!”

For the children, there was a Kids Zone full of hands-on activities, along with music and entertainment.

Not only are the artists able to make a profit from their work, but they’re also entered in a competition to win cash prizes totaling $2,500 for Best In Show, first, second and third place.

Judges this year were Lauren Turner, a curator at Ackland Art Museum, Linda Dougherty, curator at the N.C. Art Museum, and Cheryl Cullum Stewart, a public art consultant.

Lauren Markley won Best in Show for her contemporary hand-made jewelry.

First place went to Hsiang-Ting Yen, who creates jewelry inspired by watercolor paintings.

Fong Choo, who creates wheel-thrown porcelain teapots in various jewel toned hues, won second place.

Third place went to Kathleen Dautel for modern jewelry from steel, inspired by both architecture and nature.

Kevin Duval took home the Citizen’s Choice award. Duval creates kinetic sculptures using hand-crafted metals and mechanical components.

Art senior and CenterFest volunteer Kiara Sanders said she enjoyed the festival but that she would like to see a few changes.

“I would’ve liked seeing more visual artists,” said Sanders. “There weren’t many painters. I also would’ve liked to see more recent [NCCU] graduates and people of color selling their art.”

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