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Artist Profiles (part 4): Lee Moore Crawford, Franco, and Aaron Mandel

Lee Moore Crawford profile picture

Lee Moore Crawford will create photo-paintings inspired by and overlaid with words selected from Stitch word cloud.

Lee Moore Crawford

When we asked, what made you interested in STITCH?, Lee said: “I really enjoy having Akira, Dipika and Kush here in downtown Durham and they sparked my interest, knowing their aesthetics and mindset. The community based dialogue is a real inspiration and something not easy to create for large groups of artists.” Lee is making flower paintings for STITCH to order with a handprinted collage inspired by Durham, her garden, or the Ellerbee Creek trail at the Pearl Mill Reserve. One of her rituals is ikebana inspired flower-arranging, and she’s making floral works for STITCH Kickstarter rewards, too.

Durham’s great for lots of things, she says, like locally owned businesses and a diverse cross-section of folks, but she wishes there could be crosswalks. “The downtown loop and one way streets make it hard for outsiders to find businesses downtown.” And when it comes to envisioning what she’d like to see for STITCH and Durham, she says, “That Durham will  get an edge over the other triangle towns, not sprawl out and create the greenest city in the South East with the best walking and bike trails connecting parks, more trees and lots of small businesses and eateries. I hope STITCH can be more than a one time event and be a way for artists and others to participate in public art, especially kids. I love Bull City Craft, art supplies and fun-ness doing art.”

If she were to dedicate a piece to one famous person in Durham, she says, it would be Bryant Holsenbeck.

We happen to also think Bryant is incredible! 🙂



Franco’s piece is titled “Diversity.”

Franco_Head_Shot“Art allows me to transform my illustrations and graphic designs into social commentary and I am a more passionate, more serene, more balanced, happier, more productive and more satisfied man because of it,” Franco says. His business card says “visual activist,” and that’s what he tells us he cares about most, too. “I am an artist who has gone beyond the canvas, the core of my formal training, to pay respect to my inspirations—music, equal rights movements, and popular culture.”

He joined STITCH because after 20 years in Durham, he’s seen a lot of rapid growth and development, and wanted to be part of this project that’s all about thinking through what’s next in store for a town we all care about deeply. “I love Durham because it has inspired me, nurtured me and made me the artist I am today.”


Aaron Mandel

Aaron MandelSometimes you get to a town and you hear about someone a lot before you actually meet them. That’s what happened when I finally got to meet Aaron Mandel, who was one of our guest panelists at the Durham instalment of a roundtable series that traveled up the East Coast as far as Boston. It was called Aether: Is the Medium Still the Message?, and we invited Aaron because he runs a thoughtful and intriguing online magazine covering Durham’s art, culture, politics and musical scene. I like The Clarion Content because it’s very clearly Aaron’s true persona, and isn’t trying to be something “trendy” or “posh.” So I felt like I knew Aaron, through his writing, before we met at the Liberty Arts building, which at the time was in Durham Central Park.

STITCH is lucky to have him compose an original, fresh story inspired by the Top 50 words people here chose for Durham. “I have a flash fiction length story for Durham,” he says. “I am participating in STITCH because I want to be a part of telling of Durham’s story. This town’s character is its characters. Word play allows me to explore the implications of that in creative fiction.”

Can’t wait to see what these artists will make! Back them today at this page.