Bull Moon Rising & the Illumination of Historic Parrish Street - CODAworx

Bull Moon Rising & the Illumination of Historic Parrish Street

Submitted by Alexandra Benson


Location: Durham, NC, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team


With a diameter of nearly 23 feet, “Museum of the Moon” features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each inch of the spherical structure represents 6,458 feet of the moon’s surface. The surround sound composition is created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer, Dan Jones. To accompany the public art piece in activating downtown, the local minority-owned production company, Steel City Services, designed the lightscape surrounding Museum of the Moon to provide an immersive experience.


The project actively correlated with the City of Durham’s Strategic Plan vision by impacting the goal of creating connected, engaged, and diverse communities through creative placemaking and community conversations while impacting more than 5,000 residents and visitors across North Carolina’s Triangle region. Marking milestones through a fusion of science, art, and wonder, Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon suspended in the heart of downtown celebrating the history of Durham’s 150th Anniversary, honoring the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and exploring themes of history, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Residents connected with each other through free programming, experienced regional artistic performers, and participated in a once-in-a-lifetime public art installation with their friends and family. The SmART Black Wall Street Lighting Project’s goal is to activate the space along Parrish Street and Black Wall Street Gardens by installing LED lighting to encourage pedestrian traffic, maintain and showcase Durham’s unique character, and encourage private developers to invest in public art and artscape plans.


Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon public art installation was brought to Durham by a team of partners – the City of Durham’s Cultural & Public Art Program, Austin Lawrence Partners, Keep Durham Beautiful, and the Museum of Life & Science. Bringing the public and private sectors together to fund-raise for two local nonprofit organizations and cultivate an experience for Durham residents was a way to bring awareness to the mission of the two environmental and science-based organizations.

Additional Information

The two lighting public art pieces acted as a pilot project to activate public space, reclaiming parking lots and roadways to transform the land into spaces where human connection is a priority. Lighting played an integral role to create a safe, welcoming environment for residents and visitors. The City ensured that all employees and contractors were paid appropriately for this project, honoring Durham's dedication to a livable wage.