Board member cites ‘chronic financial problems’

CORNELIUS – In a move  it has tried all year to avoid, the Community Arts Project is shutting down at the end of the month.

The Cornelius-based nonprofit, which has served clients from Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville and Denver, has offered a variety of art classes and summer camps as well as mobile arts activities for more than a decade. However, its major fundraising campaign earlier this year wasn’t able to keep the programming going as hoped and summer camp projections were lower than expected.

“The board and executive director explored many avenues to raise funds needed to sustain CAP, but were unsuccessful in terms of fulfilling our income gap. We knew this would be a challenge to overcome,” board member Marti O’Flynn said. “As a board, it is our responsibility to recognize and acknowledge that our financial problems were chronic, and decided that the time had come to take this step in the best interest of the organization, as well being good stewards of grant monies given by Arts and Science Council. We are saddened to have to announce to our loyal staff, instructors, volunteers and community partners that the Community Arts Project would dissolve at the end of August 2014.”

Classes at the organization’s North Main Street location will stay open through Aug. 12. Still taking place are camps scheduled Aug. 4-8, the watercolor painting class, drop-in art Aug. 8 and oil painting with Paul Keysar until Aug. 12.

Ceramics and other art classes put on by CAP and held at the Cornelius Arts Center will continue through the end of the month, but their future after that is uncertain.

“We are in talks with several municipalities, businesses and institutions regarding the sale of our assets and hope the ceramics program will serve local communities as it has for years,” O’Flynn said. 

Cornelius Arts Center Manger Jen Crickenberger said she and the rest of the staff want to make the transition seamless and hopes they will be able to keep the offering in some capacity.

"Currently, we are in the process of determining the needed equipment in order to continue the ceramics program," Crickenberger said. "My hope is to have as little interruption as possible in the class schedule because I believe the ceramics program is an integral part of what the center has to offer the community."

CAP was started as two organizations, the Creative Art Exchange founded in 2003 and the Children’s Arts Project established in 1997, which merged in July 2009. The organization was housed in the Cornelius Arts Center until the center’s move in a different direction sent CAP to a new location earlier this year.

In addition to classes and camps, CAP has sent its mobile art outreach program to several community events, including with Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius, the Ada Jenkins Center, Our Town Habitat, YMCA, Inspire the Fire, area charter schools, scout troops, Birkdale Village, Bella Love and Christmas in Davidson, among others.

“We are very proud that CAP has been able to maintain its unique process-based way of teaching throughout our 15-year history and enriched the lives of so many families in the Lake Norman area,” O’Flynn said. “We have had so many chances to serve those who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to create and express themselves through art.”