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Welcome ToCain Center for the Arts

the Lake Norman region’s new home for inspiration, creativity, and community.


In 2013, the Town of Cornelius began to recognize the need for an arts and cultural venue to revitalize and enrich the community through the arts and all the benefits of arts education. As a direct result, the town voted to allocate $4 million out of a $20 Million municipal bond to create an arts district and in 2017 invested additional support by purchasing the 1.85 acres where Cain Center for the Arts will be built. Through a four-year strategic planning process, conducted by an investigative committee appointed by the Town of Cornelius, a non-profit organization was created to anchor the public-private partnership between the Center and the Town of Cornelius.

Executive Director Justin Dionne was hired in 2017 and in the fall of 2018, the board and leadership launched the quiet phase of a $25 million campaign. A transformational gift from local philanthropists Ericka and Bill Cain led to the center’s permanent name: Cain Center for the Arts.





Justin Dionne is now in his second year as Executive Director of Cain Center for the Arts. Originally from Salisbury, NC, Justin attended Catawba College for Undergraduate studies and Florida State University for Graduate School. He has spent over 10 years in the arts industry with 8 of them in the nonprofit sector. While in Salisbury he helped to build the Norvell Theater and then went on to spearhead efforts to renovate a 1920’s warehouse into a performing arts center which became Lee Street Theater. Along with serving communities, Justin is a passionate about his family, bourbon, travel, the Carolina Panthers, and the Florida State Seminoles. Justin and his family reside in Cornelius.



Anita Overcash joined Cain Center for the Arts in 2017 as Administrative & Marketing Assistant. Originally from Cornelius, NC, she is thrilled that a new arts center is coming to the Lake Norman region. Anita is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and worked for almost a decade at alt weekly Creative Loafing Charlotte where she primarily covered arts & entertainment. In her free time, she loves to write, travel, go to concerts, theater, and gallery shows, and spend time with her family. Anita and her husband live in Huntersville.

Board of Directors

Greg Wessling


The Lake Norman Company

Pat Bechdol

vice president

Deloitte Consulting (retired)

Troy Stafford


Devore, Acton & Stafford, P.A.

Cynthia Bush


UNC Charlotte Faculty Member

Denis Bilodeau

Commissioner – Town of Cornelius

Jean Bock

Community Volunteer

Steve Brumm

Brumm Properties

Joshua Dobi

North Main Financial Group

Kate Gaither

Newport Properties

Ginger Griffin

Royal Bliss Brewing Co.

Donna Johnson

Community Volunteer

Bill Morgan

Morgan Associates

Caroline Mullan

Community Volunteer

Paul Newton

Newton Construction Services

Bill Ward

Community Volunteer

Woody Washam

Mayor – Town of Cornelius

Our project began as an idea in 2013, and continues to gain momentum.