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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 has been a proud member of the Cain Center for the Arts team since inception. He has spent more than 10 years leading non-profit arts organizations with over 15 years in the arts sector. In his career thus far, he has helped to build multiple cultural facilities and organizations, including the Cain Center. Justin studied at Catawba College and Florida State University. He and his family are proud to call the Lake Norman Region their home.

Email: jdionne@cainarts.org
Direct Line: 980-255-5442

El Bey

Education & Visual Arts Director

Simone El Bey joined Cain Center for the Arts in 2021 as a Studio Program coordinator. Originally from Charlotte, NC, Simone comes from a family of strong community commitment. She has taught in the school system in NC and TX. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations to help build the presence of Art and emotional intelligence in the community. Simone has operated under the umbrella of Art and Education for the past ten years. Simone has previously worked with several local nonprofit organizations and schools such as Project L.I.F.T, Johnson C. Smith University, Park and Recreation Dept, the Boys and Girls Club, Community in Schools and Apprentice Academy. Her passion is rooted in Education and Visual Arts. She specializes in programming and has created curricula for alternative and charter schools during her teaching years. She is a natural visual artist and in her free time specializes in Watercolor and Acrylic artwork.

Email: selbey@cainarts.org



Perry joined the Cain Center staff just as he was about to retire after a 42-year career in arts administration and fund development. He has degrees from Denison University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration. His career journey has included leadership positions with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Appalachian State’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC, and a variety of leadership roles at the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, NC.  He is delighted and honored to postpone his retirement to help build and support the Cain Center for the Arts.

Email: pmixter@cainarts.org
Direct Line: 980-255-5443



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.

Email: aovercash@cainarts.org
Direct Line: 980-255-5441

Board of Directors

Greg Wessling


The Lake Norman Company

Pat Bechdol

vice president

Deloitte Consulting (retired)

Bill Ward


Community Volunteer

Cynthia Bush


UNC Charlotte Faculty Member

Jean Bock

Community Volunteer

Troy Stafford

DeVore, Acton & Stafford, P.A.

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

Susan Wolff

Community Volunteer

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