There is great power in the arts. They have the power to unite, to inspire, to transform, and to drive change. And the Cornelius Cultural Arts Group (CCAG) is leveraging that power to create something truly unique in the Lake Norman region.

Founded in December 2013 by local arts advocate Case Warnemunde, the 501(c)3 aims to create a vibrant and sustainable arts community in Cornelius that transforms the area into a cultural arts destination, drawing people from all over the region. Already the group has made big steps towards that goal, organizing a slew of arts-centered community events over the last 3 years, promoting the work of local artists and artisans, and thinking strategically about what opportunities exist for expanding its offerings for both art makers and art lovers.

In order to be a cultural arts destination, you need, well, culture and arts – and lots of them. And in order to have culture and arts, you need to create a place where artists and artisans want to be – a place where they can thrive, and where community members appreciate their work and contributions to the community. And to create such a place, you need to develop ways to support artists and artisans as they create their work, as well as opportunities for community members to engage with their work.

Recognizing these needs, CCAG is working on a host of new initiatives this year, from artist residencies and grant opportunities, to expanded arts facilities, to public art initiatives and of course, arts events. Events are the cornerstone of the CCAG initiative, as they hit all of the notes for creative placemaking: they provide places for artists and artisans to share their work; they draw people from all over the region to engage with and support the arts; they build a sense of community, bridging geographic, economic, and cultural gaps; and they benefit small businesses who profit from increased visitors. When it comes to the local economy, a rising tide lifts all boats, and CCAG events help drive that rise.

Here are just some of the exciting CCAG-planned events coming up this year:

‘Tawba Walk Arts and Music Festival: Saturday, April 29, 2-8 p.m. This family- and pet-friendly annual event is a fan favorite, with live music from local bands, tons of offerings from local artists and craftsmen, live art, and plenty of good food and drinks.
‘2nd Friday’ Street Festival Series: Every second Friday beginning May 12, 6-10 p.m. A signature event for the area, 2nd Fridays offer community members a standing date once a month for their culture fix.
Old Town Cornelius Jazz Festival: Saturday, May 20, 4-9 p.m. The perfect way to enjoy great weather, great food, great drinks, and of course, great music from the area’s premier jazz groups.

To learn more about these events, about CCAG, or about ways you can support its mission, visit: WeAreCCAG.org or email info@WeAreCCAG.org.

By Christina Ritchie Rogers