Cornelius Arts Center to be Named After Bill and Ericka Cain

The Cornelius Arts Center is proud to announce that they will name their upcoming arts center after local community leaders Bill and Ericka Cain. The renaming comes as a result of the Cain’s generous lead gift of five million dollars to the Center’s comprehensive campaign.

Bill and Ericka Cain relocated Financial Independence Group, FIG, to Cornelius in 1998.  Dr. Cain serves as Chief Executive Officer while Mrs. Cain serves as Executive Administrator.  The Cain’s are passionate about pursuing opportunities that allow them to help others. In 2017, they were both honored for their community work. Dr. Cain received the Robert T. Cashion Person of the Year Business Award, and Mrs. Cain received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Business Today.

“We are thrilled to be able to be part of the arts center,” says Dr. Cain. He notes that the center will benefit everyone, including adults, children, families, seniors, and members of the business community. “The arts center will improve the aesthetics of the community and it will be the catalyst to bring more improvement to the area. We can’t think of any reason not to support it.”

The Cain’s gift, alongside initial fundraising and public funding from the Town of Cornelius totals $12 million towards the center’s $25 million campaign goal. Cornelius Arts Center Board President, Greg Wessling, believes the Cain’s lead gift will help to build further momentum and excitement for the project during the early phase of the campaign.

“We are honored to have Bill and Ericka Cain make this legacy investment to name the facility,” says Wessling. “It not only provides a foundation for the center, but calls all of us to action in following their lead. It tells everyone that this arts center project is a reality.”

The new center will also anchor the revitalization and economic redevelopment of downtown Cornelius. “The Cains leadership for the arts center project is going to provide so many positive effects for Cornelius and the Lake Norman Region,” says Mayor Woody Washam Jr. “It’s going to provide quality education, entertainment and social experiences for all ages. It’s also going to create more opportunities for successful economic development projects for our downtown area.”

The Center will coordinate with the Cains in creation of the new organizational brand, with plans for unveiling in early November.

Cornelius Arts Center Selected as 2018 Tate Cares Recipient

Northern Mecklenburg and Lake Norman residents are one step closer to enjoying professional dance, theater and visual arts close to home, thanks to the Allen Tate Companies.
Allen Tate recently presented a check for $6,345 to the Cornelius Arts Center (CAC), a planned arts and cultural facility in downtown Cornelius. The gift was part of funds raised by Allen Tate Realtors® and employees in its Lake Norman, Davidson and Huntersville offices through the company’s annual Tate Cares giving campaign, which benefits arts and culture and United Way organizations.

The check was presented May 3 at Allen Tate’s Annual Porch Party, on the patio adjacent to the Allen Tate office in downtown Davidson. The event celebrates the company’s commitment to its local communities and honors Tate Cares recipient organizations chosen by agents who work in the greater Lake Norman region. The Ada Jenkins Center was also honored as a Tate Cares recipient.
Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox, an Allen Tate Realtor, provided acoustic guitar music for the event.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong partner in Allen Tate Realtors,” said Greg Wessling, Cornelius Arts Center president and board chairman.
“Allen Tate’s investment in the Cornelius Arts Center furthers our commitment to the greater Lake Norman community through the building of our new arts facility and the subsequent programming, entertainment and education we will provide for this broad audience,” he said.
Justin Dionne, CAC executive director, also attended the event, along with members of the organization’s board of directors: Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam, Town Commissioner Denis Bilodeau, Kate Gaither, Jim Duke, Donna Johnson, and Carroll Gray.
“Tate Cares supports a broad spectrum of organizations that impact the quality of life in our local communities,” said Stephanie Gossett, Allen Tate regional vice president and 2018 Tate Cares chairperson. “A vibrant arts community helps drive people to the region, improving cultural and economic life at the same time.”
As part of the Tate Cares campaign, Dionne shared the CAC’s mission and future plans with three Allen Tate offices, including a presentation at the Old Town Public House, next to the future home of the CAC.
In 2013, Cornelius residents approved a $4 million bond project for downtown redevelopment, and funds were used to purchase 1.85 acres adjacent to the police station in downtown Cornelius for a future arts center. In 2017, Cornelius Arts Center was established as a 501 (c)(3), Dionne was hired as executive director, and two architectural firms were named to execute the center’s vision.

CAC Announces Architects

After a detailed search, followed by interviews with local and national architect firms, Cornelius Arts Center is pleased to announce its partnership with acclaimed architect firms C Design and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture.


The local and national firms – C Design is based in Charlotte, NC, and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture is based in New York – will collaborate in the design and development of Cornelius Arts Center, which will be located in downtown Cornelius adjacent to the police station.

Malcolm Holzman of Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture


Of local prominence, the firm has designed parts of Spirit Square, including the innovative ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center in Uptown Charlotte. With 50 years of experience in the business, firm partner Malcolm Holzman, a member of the Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame and the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows, will serve as the Center’s design architect. He plans to create a structure that will be unique to the Lake Norman area.

The opportunity to design a distinctive new Cornelius Arts Center is extraordinary. It isn’t often that an architect has a chance to provide a building that will serve as a regional focus for the next 50 years. Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and C Design look forward to this unique juncture of favorable circumstances to enhance the life of this growing community and to add to the vibrant town center.


Marley Carroll and Robert Crane of C Design


The firm includes creative director Marley P. Carroll, a prestigious fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and other accomplished staff. C Design’s most recent work includes the revamping and expansion of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s Concourse A, which features offices, retail, food & beverage facilities, seating areas and new gates. In 2016, the firm picked up honorary design awards for its work on the YMCA Camp Thunderbird Duke Energy Pavilion in Lake Wylie, SC, and the Piedmont Natural Gas Rockingham Resource Center in Rockingham, NC.

The new Cornelius Arts Center has tremendous potential to fuel redevelopment, be a cultural catalyst of a vibrant arts district, and form a centerpiece for the Lake Norman region’s transformation. It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that C Design begins the work of designing this exciting project with the Town of Cornelius and our partner firm Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture.