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Eight years later, curtain rises for construction of Cornelius arts center


An eight-year odyssey to build an arts center in downtown Cornelius moved much closer to reality Friday with a groundbreaking that included donors and dignitaries wielding ceremonial shovels on a picture-perfect spring morning.

“It’s a monumental day for us,” Mayor Woody Washam told attendees, who stood on a concrete slab at the site, located within a few steps of the town hall and police headquarters buildings.

Major construction is scheduled to last 16 months, wrapping in the fall of 2022. The venue, known as the Cain Center for the Arts, will open for performances in December 2022.

The 32,000-square-foot performing arts center, including a 400-seat theater, three classrooms, dance studio and galleries, will anchor the 1.7-acre site. Other elements include an outdoor plaza and community green space.

A combination of public and private funding is paying for the $25 million project. To date, $19.5 million has been raised, including a $5 million gift from Ericka and Bill Cain, who spoke at Friday’s groundbreaking.

“This arts center is not about us,” Bill Cain said. “It is about the area, about the community. That’s why we’ve done what we’ve done. Why you’ve done what you’ve done.”


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8600 Sam Furr Road, Suite 100
Huntersville, NC 28078