Southport, Open Your Doors

Southport Historical Society President Bob Surridge and City of Southport Director of Tourism Randy Jones inspect two of the 19 donated doors for the “Southport, Open Your Doors” art showcase. (Photo by Gary Pethe)

Southport Historical Society and local arts organization Up Your Arts are co-sponsoring a showcase called “Southport, Open Your Doors,” for individuals and teams of local artists during the month of May.

The Southport Historical Society is the recent beneficiary of 19 wood and glass interior doors from the home on Bay Street that once belonged to Jim and Margaret Harper. The current owner, Ginger Harper, donated the doors after renovation began on the structure last year.

“We are asking artists in our midst to envision survival, what the future will look like, the connection between the past and the future,” explains Bonnie Bray of Up Your Arts. “The doors will be their individual canvasses,” she added.

The idea for the art event came in March when historical society members and the Southport’s Director of Tourism, Randy Jones, were brainstorming ideas on how to use the doors to accent and benefit the community. According to SHS President Bob Surridge, several people were familiar with the “Cow Parade” art movement that swept the globe starting in the late 1990s. In the Cow Parade, artists adorn life-sized acrylic and fiberglass cow sculptures using their artistic talents and the finished works are displayed in public places for all to enjoy.

“In the same way those cows were on parade, these doors will be on display in Southport,” Surridge said. The doors will “signify the pathway to the future” as envisioned by 12 chosen artists.

“But, at the same time, we do not want to close and lock the doors because you need that history to build the future,” Surridge added.

Artists will have four months to paint, sculpt, etch, bead, enamel - whatever medium they choose to transform the doors, alone or with a friend. Chosen artists will receive a $250 material stipend and their doors will be displayed in public places all over Southport. They will be guests of honor at a benefit gala and their doors will be auctioned off. Proceeds from the auction will be divided between Up Your Arts and the Southport Historical Society for their current fundraising campaigns.

“This past year of pandemic shock has taught all the members of our small town how valuable our history is and how intrinsically linked it is to our future,” explained Bray. “This art competition is an act of celebration for our collective well-being and community health.”

Visit to view the available doors. Prospective artist can pick one, send a $25 submission fee alone with a sketch of their idea, a description of their selected medium, and a paragraph on why they would like to be part of this project. A juried selection process will choose the 12 finalists.

Register at The deadline is May 15 but that date may be extended, according to organization officials.