The Cain Center for the Arts to break-ground May 14th


CORNELIUS, NC – The Cain Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the official groundbreaking date to begin construction on the state-of-the-art venue that will anchor the Town of Cornelius’s new downtown arts district. Scheduled for May 14, 2021, the groundbreaking ceremony will celebrate more than six years of hard work and dedication coming together to chart a new course for the future of arts and culture in the Lake Norman region. Commemoration of this momentous occasion will take place on May 14, 2021. “We’re very excited to finally see our vision come to life,” says Cain Center for the Arts Executive Director Justin Dionne. “So many people have worked very hard to make this happen and setting an official date for the groundbreaking gets us one step closer to opening the doors of our community’s new arts center.”

The public-private partnership behind the Cain Center for the Arts was originally formed in 2013 when Town of Cornelius citizens approved $4M from a municipal bond package towards Town Center redevelopment. A non-profit was soon created that assumed ownership of the project development, business planning, and vision for the center. Since then, the organization now known as Cain Center for the Arts has been led by a 16-member board of directors, 2-person staff, and numerous volunteers. Over the past 6 months, representatives from the Cain Center and Town of Cornelius have worked to create a new structure for the project. Originally thought to be a municipally owned project, the team realized that it would be more beneficial for all if the Cain Center became privately owned and operated. “The incredible success of our public-private partnership thus far really goes to show what we can achieve when we work together as a community. I look forward to seeing the Cain Center open and packed to the rafters with neighbors enjoying their shared accomplishment,” says Mayor Woody Washam.

In this new structure, the Town of Cornelius will donate a portion of the land to the Cain Center organization, allowing them to also own the building. The town of Cornelius will retain ownership of the public park portion of the property, although the Cain Center will be the primary entity responsible for scheduling. This structure allows for more ownership of programming and operations for the Cain Center as a private 501 (c). Creating this structure also set items in motion which led to the groundbreaking date being secured.

The groundbreaking comes after the culmination of over 3 years of work with architects C Design & Holzman Moss & Hart. Along with design success, the project has celebrated impressive achievement in fundraising. Led by a $5MM gift from Bill & Ericka Cain, the project has secured over $18MM in total support. Currently over 600 community members have donated to the project including individuals, families, and businesses from all areas surrounding Lake Norman. One of the lead donors in the business community is Aquesta Bank. Not only has Aquesta shown leadership through a $250k donation, they concurrently launched a bold fundraising effort to challenge local and regional businesses to help make Cain Center for the Arts a reality.

The Aquesta Challenge aims to raise half a million dollars for the Cain Center for the Arts. Aquesta Bank is currently matching every area business’s contribution of $2,500 to $10,000, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $250,000.

All members of the Lake Norman community interested in supporting the project with a donation are encouraged to do so prior to the groundbreaking event, as May 14, 2021 will mark the official closure of the window to join the original Founders’ Society.

Currently 229 members strong, Founders’ Society members will receive permanent recognition of their generosity on the lobby donor plaque as well as the exterior plaza sculpture. Exclusive future benefits also include a pair of complimentary tickets to the Founders’ Society Grand Opening Celebration, advanced ticket purchase for the Opening Gala, one year of Advanced Priority Ticket Access and one year of advanced booking window for event space.

Donors who surpass Creative Circle, Catawba Circle and Cain Circle thresholds will receive extended Advance Priority Ticket Access, access to the Donor Lounge and VIP Concierge Services, and more. Cain Center Board Chair Greg Wessling says, “The success of our fundraising campaign has been phenomenal, and it’s been heartwarming to see so many new members of the community get involved, not just financially, but with a real passion for what we’re hoping to achieve over the long run for Lake Norman.”