Published in State Port Pilot, Sep 28, 2022
By Eliot Duke
Up Your Arts (UYA) unveiled 3D renderings of its proposed arts center during a public workshop with the Southport Board of Aldermen on Sept. 12.
Representatives from the local nonprofit organization met with aldermen at the Indian Trail Meeting Hall to present new schematic design ideas for the old Brunswick County Courthouse and former City Hall for the first time. Architect David Lisle recently submitted renderings for what is unofficially being called “The Southport Center For the Arts,” and the workshop offered city leaders and citizens an opportunity to view images of the possible future of the building’s interior and exterior.
“I think these renderings suggest what this place is going to feel like and what it’s going to look like,” John Keiffer, a member of the UYA board of directors. “Now we can use those to really start soliciting more community input.”
Visions for arts center
Talks over the city-owned property’s future have continued for several years. UYA organizers of the “Save the Hall, Y’all” campaign saw potential in the historic structure that served as City Hall for more than 30 years. In 2019, UYA’s board of directors entered into an agreement with the city to conduct a six-month feasibility study to look at opportunities and whether a conversion to a new arts center was even possible.
Keiffer said the study identified three areas of concern: whether the building’s conditions warrants restoration; whether there is enough community support for any project; and whether a new center is financially viable/i.e. are there funding sources. UYA, which was founded to support creative and performing arts in the greater Southport area, presented its findings to the board of aldermen in July 2020, and the nonprofit entered into memorandums of understandings with the city to continue the development process.
“The feasibility studies indicate that there are no insurmountable obstacles to continuing with an in-depth architectural re-design of the existing structure,” said Keiffer. “We are currently in the organizational development phase.”