this page is still under construction, stay tuned!
what is pop swap?
Pop Swap started as an artist market made by artists, for artists. Specifically, for small-scale local artists that are often excluded from or are unable to participate in mainstream art markets, galleries, and events. That includes artists with disabilities, emerging or inexperienced makers, low-income artists, and artists with subversive or just downright inappropriate works. Many larger events charge high application and booth rental fees, require tax and insurance forms, require proof of event experience, and will deny artists that don't match their aesthetic from participating. The result? Highly popular, large-scale events and festivals filled with the same wealthy, established makers with similar aesthetics time and time again. Meanwhile, makers just starting out, creatives with full-time or multiple jobs, artists with "edgy" content, and so many more are paralyzed by the many obstacles and barriers to the economic and social support of the market circuit.
Enter: Pop Swap, a large-scale fest for all the rest!
Since the first event in 2021, Pop Swap has had amazing support from many community partners, including financial sponsorship from the LGBTQ Center of Durham. The Center graciously covers the rental fees for Durham Central Park, which keeps Pop Swap free for participants and attendees!
Show your support by donating to the LGBTQ Center of Durham today!
Pop Swap has grown to be much more than an artist market. Here are just a few of the cool things that have happened at Pop Swap events:
Artists use Pop Swap as an opportunity to showcase their skills while getting the public involved. Live painting, sculpting, and crafting can be seen, as well as live poems by Poet Laureate William Davis. Folks can get henna and face painting done by local artists, or even have their portrait taken at Hntrgraphy's photo booth!
community support & service
Pop Swap showcases local clubs, nonprofits, mutual aid collectives, and other service groups. In the past, we've had adoptable dogs from the APS, free grocery distros by Feed Durham, free GNC closets, and info tables for many organizations and community clubs!
Visual artists benefit economically at Pop Swap, but so do the performers! Each event features live music and performances, and all acts are paid for their time, as well as given the option to sell merch and collect tips.
Pop Swap gets the whole family involved! We've had free kids crafts and activities, impromptu chalk art battles, community mural painting, and so much more!
for a good cause
Past Pop Swaps have also featured raffle baskets and other fundraising efforts to raise money for the LGBTQ Center as well as other groups.
pop swap 365
After five successful Pop Swap festivals, lots of people asking for more opportunities like Pop Swap, and tons of interest from the community, I've decided to try and expand Pop Swap into more than a stand-alone event. Help me build a stronger arts community across the Triangle!
My first step was to survey the public. I want to build community in a way that is accessible, welcoming, efficient, and actually needed. Instead of just doing things I think would be cool, I wanted to get some feedback on what folks actually want, what work is already being done, and current barriers folks have.
Assessing the feedback from that first survey, I found that people have a desire to get more involved in opportunities, but they either don't know where to start, or don't know what's out there. I also found that everyone had interest in sharing knowledge and a desire to make real, authentic connections. So, my initial goals will be connecting folks to existing resources and fostering relationships.
Here is where I'm currently at, and the actions I plan to take in pursuit of those goals...
Digital Community Newspaper
a monthly emailed newsletter with resources, showcases, artist opportunities, events, and even personal ads! *dependent on grant funding*
Virtual & In-Person Events
Providing a platform for others to share their work, experiences, knowledge, or skills. Present on your club seeking new members, join a critique group, show off a creative process, or talk about an idea you have. These could be in-person or virtual, more TBD, *dependent on grant funding*
Organic Networking & Collaboration
Let's connect with new folks! New friendships mean more ways to collaborate. Sign up for a pen-pal, request a mentor or become a mentor, join the Pop Swap artist community, and more ideas to come.
I don't want to work in a vacuum! Let me know what you want to see, what you don't like, or any general thoughts. Community feedback is crucial. Eventually, I'd like to host Town Hall style talkbacks as well.
join the community
subscribe to pop swap news. submit a story, feature, or place an ad. join the artist directory. find other artists!
there are currently no upcoming events. stay tuned!
request an artist pen-pal! request a mentor, or become a mentor!
share your thoughts
have an idea? have a concern? submit a suggestion or general feedback.
welcome to pop swap
a community hub for artists living in the triangle, north Carolina region
how to get involved
join the community
subscribe to the monthly newsletter for events, artist opportunities, community features, resources, & more!
attend an event
Artist critiques, art markets, public forums, workshops, skill-shares, and so much more. Both virtual and in-person events offered.
Looking for resources? Hoping to join a club, collective, or organization? In search of a mentor, pen-pal, or community? Get involved!
share your thoughts
have a suggestion? a question? a resource or skill you'd like to share? know of a group or artist we should feature? let us know!