Things are coming full circle today at The Shed in Port Royal.
ARTworks' is returning to the 809 Paris St. building for its annual Mardi Gras fundraiser tonight. It's been 18 years since the nonprofit performing arts group used the building for its first Harlem Renaissance festival, the Mardi Gras party's precursor.
The former performing-arts building is also emerging from foreclosure and vacancy and once again stands to be a community center for the downtown historic district.
A contract that would allow 303 Associates to manage The Shed is nearly completed, town manager Van Willis said this week. The town bought the property on Paris Avenue, which includes two buildings totaling about 13,000 square feet, last spring for $475,000.
Nonprofit organizations such as ARTworks have been allowed to use The Shed for free while the town tries to finish the management contract, Willis said. He hopes the contract will go before the Town Council in February.
The contract would officially be with Beaufort Weddings and Events, a partner of 303 Associates, managing partner Dick Stewart said. When Beaufort Weddings and Events submitted a proposal to Port Royal, it included plans for regularly scheduled weekend events and an indoor market for vendors, he said.
"It used to be a very active and energetic space years ago, and we hope we can help it be that way again," Stewart said.
The space is suited to weddings, conferences, meetings, fundraisers and other events, Stewart said. Nonprofit and government organizations will be able to use The Shed at a discount, he added.
The town will receive a portion of the revenue. Beaufort Weddings and Events will pay to paint a mural on the outside of the main building and to make a short film about Port Royal and its history that will be shown at The Shed, Stewart said.
The Mardi Gras gala fundraiser is from 7 to 11 p.m. tonight and features live music from Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers from New Orleans. Tickets are $75, and more information is available at www.artworksinbeaufort.org.