A laboratory for documentary and experimental art practices at Duke University, the Power Plant Gallery provides ongoing opportunities for Duke students, faculty, and staff and Durham communities to explore and consider the essential role and transformative capacity of the arts in society. Through exhibitions, performances, screenings and other public events, the gallery creates and nurtures a thriving connection between the documentary arts, scholarship and our local community.
The gallery is a project of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts in collaboration with the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It was founded by the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts and the Center for Documentary Studies in 2013 and is located off-campus at American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.
WHAT WE DO
Through collaborations across campus and Durham, the Power Plant Gallery curates and hosts exhibitions from students and professional artists that engage with experimental and documentary arts. We support our exhibits with extensive in-person and online programming, including artist talks, screenings and tours. In addition to traditional programming, the gallery hosts community-centered events, including a series of decentralized conversations led by local facilitators, and a long-running collaboration with Duke's Forum for Scholars and Publics. Discussions range from Archiving LGBTQ+ Lives, to Incarceration and the Future of Black Freedom, and War and the Recreation of Culture, to the Artist as Researcher, among others.
The gallery is dedicated to the pedagogical mission of the arts at Duke. We provide curricular interactions and opportunities to Duke faculty, and students in addition to Durham's K-12 educators. Programs such as the Professional Development Award allow us to engage deeply with undergraduate students from across Duke University, while the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts thesis exhibitions are the highlight of our spring calendar. Through opportunities such as class visits, the LAB, and #PPGArtist Public Studio Residency, the gallery encourages critique and active engagement within the arts and the gallery environment.
COMMITMENT TO EQUITY
The Power Plant Gallery is determined to be a welcoming, responsible, and anti-racist member of the Duke and Durham communities. It is our commitment, along with our colleagues, to dismantle racism in the documentary arts and far beyond. We recognize this is a continuous process and we pledge to listen and work with intention and compassion, while always striving to make our progress and processes equitable. Among our commitments are to: provide paid exhibition opportunities for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and woman-identifying artists, with extensive programming support; and require all in-house and independent curators of group exhibitions to demonstrate equity in their selection process and transparency at all states of the exhibition cycle. We also welcome feedback from our Duke and Durham communities about these priorities and ways we can improve. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-660-3622.
Caitlin Margaret Kelly (she/her/hers) is the Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Director of the Power Plant Gallery. As part of her role at Duke she engages with most stages of the art process from advising undergraduate and graduate students, to curating and programming exhibitions with professional artists, and collecting work for long-term preservation. Among the exhibitions she has curated is an experimental sound exhibition, Soundings: Protest|Politics|Dissent, and a retrospective of the drawings by noted author and Guggenheim Fellow, Allan Gurganus. Kelly is also a photographer whose art is based on intentional interactions with landscapes and exploring the fragility and decay inherent in the medium. In addition to her MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University, she holds a Masters in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Boston University.
Senior Graduate Assistant:
Junior Graduate Assistants:
Power Plant Gallery, 320 Blackwell Street, Suite 100, Durham, NC 27701
[Header Image: Kabul, Afghanistan by James Longley]