Cain Center for the Arts Bids Farewell to Cornelius Arts Center; Announces Intent to Create New Ceramics Center

Cain Center for the Arts students, instructors, patrons, and staff will bid farewell to the beloved Cornelius Arts Center (CAC) at the end of August 2024. Housed in the Historic Oak Street Mill, the Cornelius Arts Center has functioned as a home for community arts since its creation as the Community Arts Project in 2009.  The Town of Cornelius Parks & Recreation Department operated the Center from 2011 until the transition to Cain Center as operator in 2021.

The change comes in response to the Oak Street Mill beginning its transition to a new development model.  This will not impact the scheduled Spring and Summer CAC programs including new and returning art classes, summer camps, and exhibit before the end of August. After August 31, the ceramics program will by necessity be suspended while all other CAC programs will transition to the newly built Cain Center on Catawba Avenue.  With gratitude, we look forward to celebrating the many years, memories, creative moments, and community experiences shared at the Cornelius Arts Center. More details will be forthcoming about plans to honor the CAC’s value to the region.  

Ceramics Studio in Cornelius Arts Center


Given the need to relocate from the current Cornelius Arts Center, Cain Center for the Arts seeks to deepen its commitment to ceramics with a new project that would provide a permanent home for the artform in our region.

Cain Center for the Arts is currently investigating an opportunity to purchase property on Catawba Ave in downtown Cornelius. Executive Director Justin Dionne notes “Not only will this opportunity deepen our commitment to ceramics, but it will also allow us to continue in our commitment to the revitalization of the downtown Arts and Cultural District.” This opportunity would include renovating two historic houses: one would house a new ceramics center, while the second would create additional space for Cain Center staff and administrative uses. Dionne adds, “although we are saddened by the pause of the ceramics program, we are excited about the possibility of creating a permanent home for our students and instructors alike while preserving two buildings that contribute to Downtown Cornelius’ historic character.”


Cain Center is currently evaluating the viability of the properties in question.  The organization anticipates seeking zoning changes from the Town of Cornelius that would be submitted late Springtime.  More information will be shared as it becomes available about the potential of the project. Cain Center for the Arts is eager to explore next steps to provide expanded offerings, preserve the historic character of homes in our area, and work to offer a permanent hub for ceramics that will continue the organization’s mission of providing exceptional visual arts, performing arts, and social experiences to the Lake Norman Region.

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