Why It Matters

The local arts sector, and the creative people it employs, enhances the quality of life, stimulates innovation to attract and retain talent, provides a magnet for cultural tourism, and contributes to overall economic vitality. Historically, $377 million of spending and event-related spending is generated by nonprofit arts and culture audiences in the Triangle every year – making up a large and vital portion of our regional economy. Research has shown that engagement in the arts has positive effects on health, positive impacts on children's social and emotional development, and has a role in influencing social change. It’s clear that cultural arts are integral to a thriving community.

Despite the wide-ranging benefits, however, cultural arts organizations face ongoing challenges to their sustainability, particularly as they respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Even before the impacts of the pandemic, nonprofit arts organizations struggled with competition for resources and audiences, inadequate artist performing and rehearsal space, and lack of funding. In research conducted by North Carolina State University’s Institute for Nonprofits, groups working in the arts self-reported lower organizational capacities than others in the nonprofit sector, making it harder for them to grow, evolve, and reach expanded audiences.

Additionally, there is a need to support organizations representing the diverse perspectives and traditions in the Triangle. For decades, philanthropy has overwhelmingly favored Eurocentric arts, leaving a gap in funding of educational and artistic expressional experiences for other art forms. As a result, arts organizations led by and serving audiences of color have sufferedThe Triangle and the nation continue to become more diverse demographically. It is imperative to invest in arts organizations that are making art reflecting the rich diversity of the Triangle and are accessible to all its residents.

We're Working To

Increase Culturally-Representative Arts Programming

Increase Art in Public & Community Spaces

Catalyze a Culture of Philanthropy in Support of Art, Particularly Grassroots 

2021 Arts Grantees

 Our 2021 group of grantee partners collectively received funding for general operating support, most for two or three years, responding to a need for reliable, flexible funding, particularly as arts organizations continue to face unique challenges due to COVID-19.

Read the press release announcing our 2021 grantees here.

Triangle Community Artists Gallery

As part of our focus on cultural arts, the Foundation’s office space also serves as a rotating art gallery, for two main reasons: to support and foster local artists, and to encourage our community to connect and engage in a meaningful conversation inspired by art.

Current Artist: Eliza Redmann

The Durham Art Guild and Triangle Community Foundation present "Folded Poetry," from Eliza Redmann.

"This work is inspired by the persistent visual disturbances caused by my traumatic brain injury. Often when I look at patterns, they appear to swim or move on their own accord, much like an optical illusion. Through this work I seek to capture the structure of regular patterns and shapes while adding a layer of geometric information which the eyes and brain can't quite make sense of. In representing the symptoms of my traumatic brain injury visually, I challenge viewers to perceive outside of what is normal or traditional, just as I must now live, adapt, and navigate the world in new ways."

Alhambra | 24" x36" | folded paper on foam board

The Impact of COVID-19 and Racial Inequity on the Triangle Arts Community

In our fifth episode of What Matters: The Video Podcast series, our guests highlighted what is it like to be an artist during this time, what the arts do for our community, how funding can play into racial inequity, and from the donor perspective why is it so important to support the arts right now.

Stories from the Community


Visit Triangle Community Foundation's Stories page for voices across our community, like Social Justice Through Art, about Hidden Voices' work amplifying stories of the forgotten, those who go unheard and unseen.