Cary Arts Center: Grand Opening Weekend

Story by Lindsey Chester. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Drum Roll, please – the new Cary Arts center marks its official opening and dedication this weekend on Saturday, August 13, 2011.  An entire day of activities is planned on Saturday including a cornerstone ceremony and lots of music in the new theater.

Cary Arts Center – A Brief History

The building itself has been open since the beginning of July. The Cross Currents Chamber Music and Arts festival was held here the first 2 weeks in July.

CaryCitizen held the Cary Scavenger Hunt on July 23rd. And since the beginning of July, a multitude of art and theater classes have been ongoing amidst minor construction.

CAC Opening Celebration

The opening celebration will begin at 9am on Saturday August 13. Check out new art exhibits, dance, theatre and musical performances, open rehearsals and interactive cultural experiences or participate in adult class samplers, kid-friendly craft projects and building tours.

See Cary Arts Center Dedication for full details.


  • 2 p.m.- Town officials will host a dedication and cornerstone ceremony in front of the arts center.
  • 5:30 p.m.- Teens will debut the Cary Youth Video Project.
  • 7:30 p.m. – The day concludes with a free concert by Larkin Poe co-sponsored by PineCone  and the Town of Cary.
On Sunday at 3 PM, the opening celebration continues with From Vision to Blueprints: A Roundtable Discussion with Artists Involved with the Design and Renovation of New Arts Center.

Free Concert with Larkin Poe

Larkin Poe is a duo of soul singing, songwriting sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell and past members of The Lovell Sisters. The band takes its unusual name from their great-great-great grandfather.

The Duo sing a fusion of newgrass, country, and folk known tight harmonies and outstanding musicianship. Larkin Poe includes Knoxville-based musicians Daniel Kimbro (bass), Chad Melton (drums), and Mike Seal (electric guitar).

From PineConeInc: Rebecca was the youngest contestant and first female to win the Merlefest International Mandolin Competition; both she and Megan have been classically trained. The Lovell Sisters won NPR’s National Teen Talent Competition in 2005 and have been featured on TBS’ Storyline. Their second CD, Time To Grow, was produced by acclaimed Nashville producer Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood).

In the words of Elvis Costello, they are “already gifted as instrumentalists and, having a head start on the rest of us with the unique power and beauty of sibling harmony in their vocal blend, their songwriting has leapt forward and now surprises and delights in equal measure.”

Old Building, New Purpose

The Arts Center has been renovated to provide 48,000 sq ft of performing arts, ceramic studios, fiber arts, woodworking, gallery space and more. The building was vacant for several years after the Town of Cary purchased it from Wake County Public Schools.

Originally built as a private Cary Acadmey, through the years it housed Cary High School and later Cary Elementary School. A plaque commemorates the building’s history as the first pubic high school in North Carolina.  Much of its original history has been preserved in the renovation.  I enjoy gazing upon the old high school senior photo pages to the right and left of the lobby area.

“For over 143 years, this site has been a center of education, and it’s exciting to see this latest building start its own new adventures in education in the arts,” said Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. “This weekend’s events give our citizens a great opportunity to see and experience first-hand the cultural hub they have helped to create.”  .

Head over on Saturday, stay for an hour, or several. All events are free and open to the public.

Event Info:

What: Cart Arts Center (CAC) Grand Opening
Where: 101 Dry Avenue
When: Sat., Aug. 13, 9am- 5 pm

For this and other Cary events, check out the CaryCitizen Calendar. Don’t see an event? Ping Lindsey Chester so she can add it!


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