Cain Center Progress Update With Executive Director Justin Dionne

The Cornelius community has been waiting with baited breath to see progress in The Cain Center for the Arts, and on September 10th, a huge construction landmark was crossed; the start of demolition on the remaining buildings residing on the future Cain Center grounds. This is an exciting and invigorating time for everyone within the community. In 2013, the Cain Center was little more than an idea, and since then, has grown to be a highly anticipated cultural landmark in downtown Cornelius. The plan for the space includes a theatre, gallery and event spaces, classrooms, and outdoor plaza, and a large green space for families and friends to come together. 

“Right now is an important time. We had to take a small hold on launching our public phase due to Covid. We wanted to be sensitive and observe how life within the community was going.”

Justin Dionne, Executive Director of the Cain Center for the arts

With the initial phase of demolition out of the way, there are several pressing questions the community is asking: “When will we start to see construction, and what is the general timeline for the completion of the Cain Center? Are there ways for community members to get involved with this project, either through donations or volunteering?” Justin Dionne, the executive director of the Cain Center for the Arts, was generous enough to fill us in on what we should expect to see in the upcoming months. 

“Demolition is scheduled to take approximately 90-120 days, with the intent of wrapping up in December or January. We hope to start site work around February or March, with full construction starting in June of 2021.” he states. “Right now is an important time. We had to take a small hold on launching our public phase due to Covid. We wanted to be sensitive and observe how life within the community was going. Even through those months, folks in the community believed in us, and continued to send in pledges and donations.”

Official artist rendering of the Cain Center interior

He emphasizes that the community has stepped up in a huge way in terms of raising money, and believing in the dream of bringing a cultural arts center to downtown Cornelius. However, if you’re still looking to get involved, there are numerous ways to get in on the ground level of this project. 

“You can join our Founders Society – donations for this start at $2500 and are payable over 2 years.  There are 4 levels of the Founders Society (Community Circle, Creative Circle, Catawba Circle, and Cain Circle).  Founders Society members will be honored as our founding donors.  Their names will be permanently engraved on the base of the public art sculpture that will be in the plaza.  Also, benefits will become available as we move forward. The benefits are still being solidified but could include member perks like first access to buy tickets and season passes, pre and post show receptions, discounted pricing for classes, and more.”

“Another way to support the cause is to purchase a brick!  Our brick campaign launched on September 1.  There are 3 different sizes and prices ($250, $500, $1000).  These bricks will be placed in the floor of the lobby and in the outside plaza. You can also send in a donation. We are grateful for every donation we receive, no donation is too small, it all makes an impact!”

Official artist rendering of The Cain Center for the Arts

If you’re interested in getting involved in a more hands on way, Justin assures that while in person volunteering has been put on hold due to Covid, they are looking to tentatively relaunch their volunteer program within the near future. “ The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. Currently, volunteers can help us out by taking posters and materials about our campaign to local businesses. Also, we are always looking for volunteers to help us by connecting us to opportunities to share our story and get the word out. Once the center is complete, we will have a broad range of volunteer opportunities, including ushering, reception desk, and more!”

“We cannot build this center without you! This project has been a labor of love for over seven years now.


In closing, Justin says, “We cannot build this center without you!  This project has been a labor of love for over 7 years now!  There have been many community members involved from all over Cornelius and LKN.  This truly will be a center for all and life in LKN will never be the same once we open.  The important thing to remember is that it will continue to take all of us to make it happen.  Please buy a brick (or two), encourage your friends and neighbors to donate!  We can do this but it will take everyone to make it a success.”

If you’re looking to get involved with The Cain Center through donations, or through volunteering, check out the links below! 


Brick Campaign

Founders Society