A mural by artist JP Jermaine Powell on wall behind metal bike racks at Raleigh Union Station. The mural features a bicycle, a sun painted around a light fixture, and a silhouette of the city skyline with colorful wavy lines.

Public Art Mentorship Program

Raleigh Arts

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About the Program About the 2021-2022 Mentees

About the Program

The first-ever Public Art Mentorship Program seeks to grow our regional public art talent through a series of workshops, opportunities, and the chance to be mentored by nationally renown public artists. 

Artists in the program:

  • Work with public art administrators to refine their portfolio and application materials
  • Learn how to take a public art project from brainstorming with the community all the way through the process to the installation of the final artwork.
  • Learn how to research fabrication methods and fabricator selection.
  • Learn how to draft and manage budgets and obtain estimates from vendors.
  • Help public artists engage with the community by hosting public meetings and gathering feedback from residents.
  • Create a portfolio piece that can be used in future public art applications.

The program provides an exciting opportunity to work with a seasoned artist on a large-scale public art project while also refining the mentee’s work and portfolio. This springboard will help push regional talent and create a more robust public art ecosystem. 

About the 2021-2022 Mentees

Headshot of Claire Alexandre sitting next to her artwork

Claire Alexandre

Claire Alexandre (She/Her) is a Diaspora child, abolitionist feminist storyteller, and student of all ecologies. She weaves autobiographical reflections with ancestral wisdom while exploring larger themes of environmental, gender, and racial justice. She seeks to deepen our collective understanding of community prosperity and its close ties with sustainable land stewardship. Through mixed-media painting, street art, and botanical knowledge, she uses her skills to create modern-day mythologies and heroes honoring the resilience, power, and complexities of Black diasporic identity, with a particular focus on womxn.  

She has done murals in Colombia, Morocco, Puerto Rico, and had a residency and solo show in Brazil. In 2019 she was an invited speaker to the opening of the Beyond Despair: Environmental Humanities in Theory and Practice Art Exhibition in Durham, USA.

Visit Claire Alexandre's website

artwork by Maria Britton

Maria Britton

Maria Britton was born in Florence, South Carolina and currently lives and works in Carrboro, North Carolina. Her work has been included in exhibitions with the North Carolina Museum of Art; LABspace, Hillsdale, NY; Snag, Seattle, WA; LoBo, New York, NY; Smith Gallery at Appalachian State, Boone, NC; Camayuhs, Atlanta, GA; Lump, Raleigh, NC; Tempus Projects; Tampa, FL; SOIL Gallery, Seattle, WA; BAM, Brooklyn, NY; The Stephen & George Laundry Line, Queens, NY; The Scrap Exchange, Durham, NC; and Harbor Gallery, New York, NY among others. She has participated in artist residencies through Hambidge Center, Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, Petrified Forest National Park, and Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings. Maria earned her BFA from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC and her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Maria Britton's website

Headshot of Nyssa Collins

Nyssa Collins

Hi! I’m Nyssa Collins, and I am a freelance artist, musician, and teacher living in Durham, NC.  I studied piano performance at Humboldt State University (‘16), and am a self-taught artist (although I’ve learned a massive amount from my creative community!). I make puppets and perform with Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and offer workshops in shadow puppetry, mask making, and other art topics with the Durham Arts Council and many local schools. I teach private piano lessons and work as a teaching artist with Kidznotes. I also work as an accompanist with Yates Baptist Church. 

I love doing commissions and collaborating with friends! I am excited to be doing more and more of these. My current projects include developing a full-length shadow puppet show, studying jazz piano and composition, and creating a larger body of work.

View Nyssa Collins' website

Mural by artist Max Dowdle

Max Dowdle

Public art stimulates more than just the soul, it facilitates economic and cultural development. This spark is ignited through creative placemaking, a multifaceted, community-focused, aesthetic design process that showcases a city or business’s greatest assets.

Max Dowdle is the principal artist at ROARPAINT. Max brings twenty years of artistic expertise, and an indomitable focus to every project he chooses to work on.

View Max Dowdle's website

Artwork by Joachim Gawryolek

Joachim Gawryolek

I was born in Elblag, Poland, a city that is known for the 1965 I Biennale of Spatial Forms and its outdoor sculptures. These spatial forms still influence how I think about the space around us and helped me realize the importance of art, space, and architecture in shaping an individual’s understanding of self and others. 

I am a multidisciplinary designer and artist who focuses on the connection of people through objects and spaces currently based in Raleigh, NC. In 2019, I received a Master of Industrial Design degree with a focus on Public Space Design from NC State University, and in 2015, I received a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts with a focus in Sculpture from Salisbury University.

View Joachim Gawryolek's website

Bee box by David Hinkle

David Hinkle

I have always been a craftsman. As a kid I would build forts in the woods behind my house and carve small animals out of wood, creating worlds with my hands and my imagination. I also have a love of sketching, drawing, and coloring. It is something I have always done. Later in High School in Western Pennsylvania, I was introduced and trained in the art and discipline of drafting and mechanical drawing.  Many, many hours were spent at a drafting table honing the skills needed to draw complex and communicative drawings. My training as a Landscape Architect started after college when I worked on my master's degree at North Carolina State School of Design. A residential design-build studio with Will Hooker provided me with an introduction to Permaculture principles and techniques, along with strong residential design-build fundamentals. Will's studio, plus my involvement with the interdisciplinary student environmental design group ECOS LOGOS, pointed me down the path that I would follow for the next 25 years.  

My construction experience began while working for Will Alphin at Alphin Design Build as I was finishing my graduate work at the School of Design. Will's attention to detail and passion for design-build was an inspiration and a path that appealed to me and my senses. It was during this time that I  learned and honed the skills that I would use in my own design-build practice. Plumb, level, and square (I added Patience) became the basis for everything.

View David Hinkle's website

Headshot of artist Shannon Newby

Shannon Newby

I have always been fascinated by the intersection of science and art.  Scientists and artists alike ask poignant questions, discover new things, and seek to forge paths with their work; both share a common denominator of wonderment and work toward design solutions.  

In a similar fashion, I draw much of my inspiration from the wonder-filled curiosities in the natural world.  Often I recontextualize ordinary materials into wall hangings, sculptures, and site-specific installations, inviting viewers to rethink a material’s purported use and hinting at a sort of playfulness that follows through much of what I do.

My work also frequently extends into the public sphere.  I enjoy designing creative, immersive experiences for schools, museums, through Kid Lab, or through partnerships in the broader community. 

When I'm not tinkering around in the studio, you're likely to find me teaching art, cooking in my kitchen, or making mayhem with my daughters.

View Shannon Newby's website

Artwork by Patrick Phelps-McKeown

Patrick Phelps-McKeown

I am a Durham native, 34-year-old white male artist, and arts organizer. My vision is to be part of bringing about a utopian paradise on Earth through artistic creation and community building from the DIY to the institutional level. Collaboration is central to my practice, which includes collectively organizing open exhibitions and festivals, composing music for installations and performances, painting and organizing mural projects, and my own multimedia art, design, and performance. Through the exploration of themes such as the natural world, ancient architecture, apocalypse, and hyperreality, I strive to create experiences and opportunities that foster equity and bring us back into the community with each other and all life.

View Patrick Phelps-McKeown's website

Artwork by JP Jermaine Powell

JP Jermaine Powell

I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the early to mid-1990s. I’ve traveled the world, done some amazing historical art and design work, and met some amazing people along the way. I’ve also been able to settle down in the great city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Eleven years ago, I made the move to the Raleigh area and made it my home. And every year, I learn so much about this area and its people. Throughout my career, I have been able to establish great partnerships with amazing partners that, as a result, have improved the environments of many public community areas.

View JP Jermaine Powell's website

Headshot of Kiara Sanders

Kiara Sanders

Kiara Sanders is a 2017 graduate of North Carolina Central University with a bachelor’s degree in Art Studies. Her strongest area has always been the visual and applied arts – mainly on two-dimensional surfaces. She uses an array of different mediums from acrylic paint to a Wacom tablet to share her vision with her clients or before an audience. She also teaches and tutors the principles of drawing so that her students improve their ability to share their own vision, too.

View Kiara Sanders' website



Kelly McChesney
Public Art Director

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Service Categories:
Raleigh Arts
Board, Commission or Committee:
Arts Commission
Related Services:
Artist CallsGo See Art



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