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Cain Center for the Arts adds glitz to downtown Cornelius

 Cain Center for the Arts
Gwendolyn Glenn
Cain Center for the Arts

Catawba Avenue in downtown Cornelius has been transformed in a major way since the Cain Center for the Arts opened in January. The two-level, 35,000-square-foot facility, constructed mainly of glass, sits on almost two acres in the heart of downtown Cornelius. The $25 million center was funded with public bond money and private donations. It was seen as a way to create an arts district and revitalize downtown Cornelius. Justin Dionne, the center’s executive director gave WFAE’s All Things Considered host Gwendolyn Glenn a tour of the new facility. Listen to their conversation at the audio link above.

 The Cain Center for the Arts' 400-seat theater
The Cain Center for the Arts
The Cain Center for the Arts' 400-seat theater.

  • The center has a 400-seat theater for various types of productions. The Charlotte Ballet will perform Under The Lights, based on the music of Johnny Cash on March 25 and Gina Chavez, a Latin Grammy nominee, is the headliner on April 1. Center officials often offer donated tickets to people who cannot afford to buy one.
  • The Cain Center for the Arts has a public plaza that includes a performance pad for concerts.
  • The reception area was designed with salvaged wood from the cotton gin that once sat on the site of the arts center.
  • The center has a gallery space that until the end of March features an exhibition of glass artist Jacob Phifer of Charlotte.
 The Cain Center for the Arts boardroom has lots of natural lighting and a view of the town's main thoroughfare
The Cain Center for the Arts
The Cain Center for the Arts boardroom has lots of natural lighting and a view of the town's main thoroughfare.

  • Youth can apply for the Cain Center’s music program, which provides a year’s worth of free private music lessons in piano, drums, voice and guitar.
  • The center offers art classes and a dance studio is set to open in April.
  • The Cain Center is open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with performances in the theater most weekends.

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Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.