Cain Center for the Arts: Grand Opening Celebrates New Destination in Cornelius NC


For over 10 years, the residents and community leaders of Cornelius, NC, have had a vision for an arts and community center, making the downtown area a destination for not only locals, but for the region. That vision became reality and was celebrated January 3-7, 2023, with the grand opening of The Cain Center for the Arts.

In 2013, residents of Cornelius, NC, voted on a bond of 4 million dollars dedicated to the redevelopment of an area in downtown for an arts and community center. “There was a real focus by leaders of the town and those that live here to see the downtown area of Cornelius, NC, grow and become known regionally as a destination for the appreciation of the arts, while addressing needs of the community. With the money received from the public bond, a group of local business leaders, elected officials in Cornelius, and volunteers studied what an arts and community center would mean for the area. The group studied other areas in the state, as well as across the country, to get an idea of the impact a center would have and those who could be served by all such a center would offer,” said Justin Dionne, executive director Cain Center for the Arts.

With what the group’s vision was for the center, it was evident that 4 million dollars would not be enough, so a capital campaign to raise 25 million began in 2018. It was also decided that the arts and community center should be a private, non-profit organization to make it a true part of the community.

“The capital campaign got off to a great start with a 5 million dollar lead gift from Erika and Bill Cain, residents of Cornelius, NC, who love the area and know the proposed center would benefit the community. After the initial demolition on the 1.5 acre site, construction began in May 2021.

Cain Center for the Arts, named in honor of the Cains, offers a public park area, an outdoor performance space for concerts, a plaza for events, a 35,000 square foot building, featuring a 400-seat theater, art gallery, dance studio, classrooms, board room, and offices. It is a beautiful facility where we will have not only concerts, but will offer art classes for children and adults. I am happy to say we achieved our goal, closing the capital campaign, and opening 100% debt-free,” Justin commented.

With the grand opening, Cain Center for the Arts welcomed the public to view the facility and learn of the offerings.

“Since the vision for the center began with the public bond vote, we felt the public should be our first visitors. We estimate that the week of the grand opening, we had about 3000 come through the doors. We had free art classes for youth and adults, a showcase of local musicians and artists, all culminating with a red carpet gala featuring Renee Elise Goldsberry, a Tony and Grammy award winning artist and original cast member of the Broadway production of ‘Hamilton’. It was a great beginning to our season that runs from January to May, with a little something for everyone. From jazz, to ballet, children’s theatre, rock and roll, comedians, and family entertainment, we will have great talent showcased along with great art classes, including drawing, painting, and ceramics. Our art gallery will focus on regional artists in the North and South Carolina area. As the year progresses, we will offer summer camps too,” stated Justin.

For more information on Cain Center for the Arts, upcoming productions, and classes, visit Cain Center for the Arts is located at 21348 Catawba Avenue, Cornelius, NC.


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