Project Details

The Plaza & Play is approximately 18 acres and sits on the southern edge of the park and will become the main entrance to Dix Park along Lake Wheeler Road, welcoming visitors travelling from around the City and across the State. 

As described in the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan, the Plaza & Play aspires to be an inviting and inspiring public space for all ages with one of a kind play spaces, a civic plaza, fountains, gardens, and areas to cookout and relax with family and friends.  The history of the site will come alive through public art, interpretive signage, and a rehabilitated historic house. 


To Learn more about the overall project visit

This project is part of the Percent for Art program.

About the Artists


My work reevaluates the everyday, reinvigorates gathering spaces and engages with urban and rural conditions. These interventions attempt to reorient one’s perception and inspire a renewed collective consciousness. By favoring the process of research and exploration, I have a unique body of work poised between abstraction and literal representation, guided by a clear conceptual foundation and whimsical synthesis.It is this bold site-specific approach to reimagining spaces that I hope to apply toeach artwork I create.

My artistic ethos is rooted in the notion that public art can act as a portal to other possible worlds, which viewers might traverse and inhabit. The intent is to visually communicate a narrative that reshapes aspects of a specific environment and engage individuals in new and exciting ways, urging viewers to interact with the site and one another. This framework guides the physical characteristics of the installation; placement, duration, scale, colors, processes and materials are selected based on their ability to best convey and reinforce the conceptual narrative. To achieve this level of energy and site-responsiveness, I begin with meticulous research and documentation of the local environment and site history.

About the Artists


Johnny Lee Chapman, III is an interdisciplinary artist from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. Chapman started writing as a "Tumblr poet"in 2010 during his first yearat the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillas a student in the Dental Hygiene program. In 2014, he leapedfrom the page to the stage,beginning his career as a spoken word artist. Since then, he has performed regionally and nationally and is an active voice within his Triangle community.His professional range includesspoken word performances, screenwriting and acting,facilitation of poetry showcases, craft workshops, and artist mentorship. Chapman also operates as a visual artist under the name The Golden Momentutilizing the mediums of film and photography to convey emotion without explanation. 

Chapman embraces the title of the storyteller:the one in charge of relaying historyby inspiring the audience'simagination.His art can be best summed up as an in-depth case study on the human condition in the new millennium,a genre-bender unafraid to infringeon the hidden to provide a novel perspective for all who grant him a moment. Offstage, he can be found traveling with his camera and passport, providing careto the community as a Registered Dental Hygienist ("brush all the teeth you wish to keep"), or playing a game of soccer on the pitch. A personal motto he wishes to leave with any is "Never let your ink run dry."


Photo credit: Sarah Demuth

Share your Thoughts Feedback Virtually with the Artists by filling out the online survey:

Public Art - Plaza & Play Preliminary Survey

​ We would like to know more about the public artwork you would like to see at the Dix Park Plaza & Play.  If you have questions about the project, or would like a project team member...

Previous Meetings: 


July-September 2021: Research & Community Engagement

September-October 2021: Integrated Concept Design Phase

November 2021: Completion of Integrated Concept Designs

Fall 2022:  Final Design Phase

2023-2024: Fabrication 

2024: Installation

About Dorothea Dix Park

This community has an extraordinary opportunity. The chance to create a new public space of this size in the heart of a city is remarkable – and simply unparalleled in the United States. This is especially true with land of such beauty, history, and potential: rich and varied landscapes, dramatic hills and valleys, beautiful groves and prairies, rolling fields, skyline views, old growth oaks – all in a bucolic, campus-like setting. For 150 years this land was part of the Spring Hill Plantation. For the next 150 years it was the site of North Carolina's first mental health facility, Dorothea Dix Hospital - including the past decade as the headquarters for North Carolina DHHS. Just imagine what the next 150+ years can be. If we rise to this opportunity, Dorothea Dix Park will have a unique ability to bring us together. By honoring Dix Park's history we can build together a place of belonging for all individuals and families, for all communities, economic levels, backgrounds, and interests. The benefits of a great urban park are profound – improvements to physical health, mental health, community health (safety, cohesiveness, empathy, civic pride, belonging), air pollution and storm water management, and much more. The park will transform individual lives and will be essential to ensuring a livable and sustainable region for generations to come. Be a part of creating Dorothea Dix Park as a place for everyone – a transformative public space for community, wellness, celebration and resilience that will enrich our quality of life in North Carolina.


Dix Park Conservancy

The most important parks and public spaces in America are rely on public-private partnerships to make them vibrant and successful. The effort to create Dorothea Dix Park is one of those best-practice public-private partnerships – between the City of Raleigh and Dix Park Conservancy. The City of Raleigh owns and operates Dorothea Dix Park. The Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that exists to support the City in its efforts, serve as its philanthropic partner, and help ensure the creation and long-term success of Dorothea Dix Park.

About Raleigh Public Art

Mission: To create and integrate diverse artworks into Raleigh's landscape in order to establish a vibrant visual environment that provides public places with civic distinction, as well as fostering meaningful connections between people and place.

History: In 2009, the City of Raleigh adopted ordinances creating the Percent Art Program. The program allocates 1% of funds from capital construction projects for public art. Public art associated with City of Raleigh construction projects is managed by the Raleigh Arts Office. More information about Raleigh Arts can be found at  

The Dix Park Plaza & Play Public Art Project is a part of the City of Raleigh Percent for Art Program. Capital Improvement Projects that meet the Percent for Art Ordinance standards, such as this one, are eligible to use 1% of construction funding for Public Art. Inclusion of aesthetics and artwork is an investment in our communities, with a focus toward community identity and equity in quality of life. Communities gain cultural, social, and economic value through public art.