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Bull, City
Oil on canvas    
40 " x 30"

Private collection 

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       Bull, City by Bruce Mitchell

Notes: The setting of this painting, Durham, North Carolina, is colloquially known as "Bull City," a reference to the Bull Durham brand of tobacco launched here in the mid-1800s. The bull in the foreground is a fine bronze sculpture, entitled "Major," created by Mike Waller and Leah Foushee, located in downtown Durham, on CCB Plaza, at the intersection of Parrish and Corcoran Streets. The large shadow across the middle ground, through which the cyclist rides, is cast not by the bull but by the tall, historic Hill Building (a/k/a SunTrust Tower, a/k/a Central Carolina Bank Building, etc.), which is just outside the picture space, to the right. That building was controlled by Greenfire Development at the time of this painting. It has since been sold and renovated. 

The partially shaded green space beyond the street was a park-like vacant lot, also owned by Greenfire, on which the Durham Woolworth's once stood. This location was visited by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1960, as early civil-rights sit-ins at its segregated lunch counter were under way. This is also where, on election night in November 2008, a large, exuberant crowd gathered around an improvised projection screen to watch election results. This lot was closed to the public with chain-link fencing in July 2011, to be used as a staging area during renovation of the aforementioned Hill Building. Hotel 21C opened in the Hill Building in 2015. 

The sunlit, bright green wall with peeling paint, behind the vacant lot, encompasses two more historic buildings; the one on the left is on the south side of Parrish Street, while the right side has a Main Street address. The former was an empty, roofless shell, while the latter, also vacant, was in better condition. Both were also owned by Greenfire at that time (September 2011) and were later sold to another developer. These buildings have since been demolished and the land, including the vacant lot, is to be the location of a new 26-story mixed-use building.  


Copyright Bruce G. Mitchell