At the opening of Pleiades Gallery’s exhibition “Truth to Power” this summer, patrons included prize-winning architects, Duke professors, community activists, tattooed artists, blues musicians, local politicians, and curious passersby on their way to one of downtown Durham’s many hip restaurants.
Located at the Five Points intersection, Pleiades has attracted a devoted following that reflects the eclectic Durham community. And that’s exactly the goal co-founders Kim Wheaton and Renee Leverty A.M. ’96 had in mind when they opened the gallery this past spring.
“We wanted to create a gallery that was inclusive and served as an open door to Triangle residents," says Leverty, a metal sculptor and chair of Durham's Cultural Advisory board. "It's a place where you can view exceptional work and also get to know the artists."
Leverty and Wheaton chose Pleiades as the name for the airy, brightly lit space as a tribute to Durham. Pleiades is a cluster of seven stars located on the shoulder of Taurus, the bull constellation. The seven stars also appear on Durham’s city flag. “We are a cluster of artists within the cultural constellation of Durham, the Bull City,” they note.
In addition to ongoing shows by the gallery’s ten member artists, “Truth to Power” and other exhibitions bring in a wider cross section of the local artist community. That show, which featured a range of works related to themes of social justice, included works by photographers Juliet Jensen ’88 and Jenny Warburg ’81 and was curated by North Carolina State Senator and former Durham City Council member Mike Woodard ’81.