Arts Center Project
We're working with the City of Southport to preserve the historic Brunswick County Courthouse, which also served as Southport's city hall before it succumbed to the ravages of time. Help us restore this landmark building into a center for the arts!
Southport's Former City Hall
Long before it was Southport City Hall, the now-vacant building, located at Moore and Davis streets, was the historic Brunswick County Courthouse. Southport was called Smithville then and it served as the county seat from 1808 until 1978. Built-in the mid-1800s, the structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, one of only seventeen antebellum courthouses remaining in North Carolina at the time.
The old courthouse served as city hall from 1979 until 2014. Two years later, all municipal operations were relocated when the building was declared unsafe; it has been vacant ever since. The City of Southport is committed to retaining ownership, but no funds are currently budgeted to undertake capital repairs necessary for reuse.
Up Your Arts is inspired by the building’s history and its standing in the community, both for its prominent downtown location and for its status as a center of municipal life.
The organization has developed a plan subject to approval by Southport's elected officials to restore the building as an arts-focused community center with a variety of sustaining uses, open to and operating on behalf of city residents and visitors at no cost to taxpayers. Our goal is to Save the Hall, Ya'll! and put art in the heart of downtown Southport.
Save the Hall, Y'all!
Up Your Arts proposes to renovate the grand hall upstairs for reuse as public meeting chambers for the city’s governing body, as well as, provide additional space for weddings and events when the Southport Community Building is booked to capacity. A catering kitchen is also in the works.
The grand hall is acoustically well suited to support a broad range of performance art—dance, choral recitals, chamber music, storytelling, children’s theater, etc. The first floor would house rented studio space to visual artists, private and shared, and the wide, central hallway would function as an exhibition gallery.
Up Your Arts also plans to dedicate space to be used communally by Brunswick County non-profit organizations, so that they may have a physical presence in Southport. Finally, a small gift shop would feature the work of local artists.
The project plan covers 4 phases...
Arts Center Project - Planned Phases
Phase 1: Feasibility Study
Gave Up Your Arts an exclusive opportunity to study whether a project to convert the structure into a community-based performing and creative arts center was feasible.
Phase 2: Design Development
During phase two, and concurrent with program development efforts, professional architectural services would be engaged and funded.
Phase 3: Pre-Construction
Phase three would focus on raising the necessary funds to proceed into the actual reconstruction process. A general contracting firm would be selected through a competitive bidding process.
Phase 4: Construction
Phase four would encompass the actual construction work, including hazard mitigation, demolition, reconstruction, and the selection and installation of all necessary furnishings.
Once all four phases of the project are successfully completed, a robust series of opening events and programs will be established and promoted. We will then begin to celebrate having a true community-based performing and creative arts center in the heart of Southport!