Pleiades  [plee–uh-deez]  n.

·     Arts: a non-profit community arts organization based in Durham, NC.

·     Astronomy: a cluster of stars in the Taurus (bull) constellation.

·     Classical Mythology: seven daughters of Atlas pursued by Orion.


We exist to:


  • Co-create and generate arts experiences in full partnership with communities and their members, in accessible and understandable way.


  • To provide a lasting (enduring) connection to resources and community for people who want to tell stories through art.


  • To engage with communities that are not in the mainstream arts spaces around issues of justice, inclusion, and lived experience, in safe and nurturing spaces.


  • To challenge notions of who art is for, how it is created, why it’s important; and who gets to experience it it.

A little history: 

Two Durham artists, Renee Leverty and Kim Wheaton, started Pleiades Gallery in Downtown Durham, April 2013. They had an enthusiasm to create space for local member artists to show and sell their artwork. They believed artists should make a living wage, and they believed in Durham.  Pleiades started hosting community shows such as:

  • An annual community show titled "Truth to Power" open to local North Carolina artists who display artwork on matters of social justice at local, national, and international levels.  

  • "Water is…" which raised awareness around water resources issues and supported a City of Durham Initiative "Creek Week”.

  • Collaborated with the Art of Cool Project “Innovate Your Cool".  A behind the scenes look at the sneaker industry and highlighting the work of North Carolina State University Design Students.

  • Working with the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County to co-host Speak Truth to Power at Pleiades, Open Microphone, and Spoken Word Events.

  • Co-creating an exhibit "Durham under Development," which included hosting four community conversations around gentrification, displacement, growth, and community. 

  • And more….


Through these experiences, we learned firsthand the importance that art has in creating opportunity for dialogue and understanding.   The nonprofit Pleiades Arts was formed July 2017 to expand further on this work.   Learn more about Pleiades Arts exhibits on the Community Work Section.