girl crafting at arts center


Pullen Park and Arts Center Improvements

Raleigh Parks

The Pullen Park and Arts Center Improvement project is a multi-purpose construction project that includes the expansion of Pullen Arts Center and a renewal of the North Pullen Park campus to address the need for additional accessible parking, and better connect Theatre in the Park, Pullen Arts Center, the Gregg Museum, ballfields and park, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, Public Utilities has worked with Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources to replace aging sewer lines within the park boundary.

Pullen Arts Center, located in North Pullen Park, is an arts education facility for beginning to advanced artists of all ages that provides quality instruction, programming, gallery exhibitions, and studio access. It is located in the heart of North Pullen Park. The renovation and expansion of the Arts Center have provided an opportunity to update the campus to connect the newly opened Gregg Museum, Theatre in the Park, other amenities in the park and the surrounding neighborhoods. These site improvements will happen simultaneously with the renovation of the Arts Center and the Pullen Park Sanitary Sewer Improvements, a City of Raleigh Public Utilities project.

Funding of $6 million has been appropriated to the Arts Center and Park Site Improvement project, allocated from the 2014 Parks Bond Referendum, for the renovation and expansion of this unique art facility, increasing accessibility and connection. A conceptual study was conducted from summer 2015 through spring 2016 to develop a preliminary plan that incorporates the vision of the 2001 Pullen Park Master Plan and integrates and balances input from stakeholders, patrons and the general public. The conceptual plan was reviewed and approved by the City Council in June 2016. Subsequently the project team continued the public participation process to develop the schematic design, which was approved by City Council in February 2017. Although the project was permitted and publicly bid for construction in an extremely volatile construction market, a fair and reasonable bid was awarded by City Council in May 2019 to Focus Design Builders LLC. The contractor received formal notice to proceed with the renovation project on July 15, 2019. 

The first steps of the Pullen Art renovation project include the installation of tree protection and a silt fence, followed by demolition and removal of trees. Through careful and thoughtful design, only about 3% of the total of trees in the Park (one hundred five trees) will be removed to renovate the art center and make the necessary associated site improvements including trenching for stormwater. Once the project is completed trees will be replanted with an eye towards placing the right tree in the right place in an effort to minimize future infrastructure impacts and sustaining the legacy of the Pullen Park landscape.

Project Phases

Phase 1: Conceptual Study

This phase will take about a year. Key steps include:

  1. Selection of a design consultant (completed). Clearscapes Architecture awarded.
  2. Situational assessment and establishment of a citizen planning committee.
  3. Conceptual study during which the consultant will assess the current building and site and recommend a design concept.
  4. Presentation of the conceptual plan to the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board and City Council for approval.

Phase 2: Design and Implementation

This phase will take about 2.5 years, including about one year for design and permitting and about 18 months for construction. It will require the hiring of design and construction contractors. Key steps include:

  1. Development of schematic design based on the conceptual plan.
  2. Public engagement and input on the schematic design.
  3. Presentation of the schematic plan to the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board and City Council for approval.
  4. Completion of construction documents and permitting.
  5. Bidding and construction.

Project Details

$6 million
Project Lead:
Lora Greco
Clearscapes, Architect, Site Collaborative, Landscape Architect, Focus Design Builders, General Contractor


Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources




This phase is complete.


This phase is complete.


Construction has started! There are multiple improvement projects occurring simultaneously including the Pullen Park Sanitary Sewer Improvements project; the renovation and expansion of the Arts Center; roadway and pedestrian improvements; the addition of necessary accessible parking and emergency services access for the theatre, arts center and ballfields. These projects balance community demand for increased arts and parks opportunities, accessibility and safety requirements, environmental stewardship and the maintenance of aging infrastructure for a growing city.


Pullen Arts Center has reopened for scheduled classes, scheduled tours, studio orientations, and scheduled gallery visits! 

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Since 1961, Pullen Arts Center has served as an arts education facility for artists of all skill levels. The parks bond referendum approved by voters in Fall 2014 includes $6 million for improvements at the Pullen Arts Center and the surrounding north side of Pullen Park. The existing arts center building is located at 105 Pullen Road and houses a variety of programs including: pottery, painting, jewelry, printmaking, glass, arts-based summer camps for children with support spaces for administration, meetings, gallery, and operation. Improvements are needed to accommodate the growth and popularity of arts education programming at Pullen Arts Center over the last four decades as well as incorporate new technology and equipment. The existing facility will undergo a full renovation and expansion. In addition to the bond funded project an annual capital improvement program project funds facility improvements for Theatre in the Park. 


Date Activity
2015 - 2016 Conceptual Study
June 7, 2016 City Council approved the Concept Plan for Pullen Arts Center Renovation
July 5, 2016 City Council approved an amendment to Clearscapes' contract to design the project
July 2016 - February 2017 Schematic Design
February 7, 2017 City Council approved the Schematic Design for Pullen Arts Center
February 2017 - July 2018 Design Development, Board of Adjustment, and Administrative Site Plan
August 2018 - November 2018 Construction Documents and Permitting
November 2018 - March 2019 Bidding
April 2019 - June 2019 Contract Award and Execution
July 2019 - Early 2021 Construction

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