CORNELIUS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Change isn’t always evident, but right in the heart of Cornelius is a new, not-so-subtle example of how significant changes can make a big difference.

“The analogy that the sleepy old town that got woken up,” laughed Jess Boye. “I couldn’t be in a better location.”

The new $25 million Cain Center for the Arts is just across the street from Boye.

“No matter how many drawings you put out, no matter what we communicate, you’ve got to be there. You’ve got to walk in and see it,” said Justin Dionne, the Cain Center executive director.

Cornelius voters passed a $4 million bond to help fund the community center in 2013. Now, ten years later, it’s finally open.

“We really tied to do everything we could to involve all the elements,” Dionne said.

Inside is a 400-seat theater, classrooms for art classes, a dance studio, and an art exhibit — to name a few things. Dionne said it’s a place for the people, even if it initially seems intimidating.

He remembered seeing a couple of high school students walking through the lobby.

“I saw them, I was like, ‘Guys, what’s up, want to check this out? ‘They were like, ‘Are we okay?’ I said, ‘Of course. This is your place. This is for you,’” he said.

Jess said she scooped up her corner location as soon as it became available. She’ll be planning pop-up shops that coordinate with what’s going on at the Cain Center, called “Pop Up Shop Lake Norman.”

“This is the place I’m supposed to be,” said Jess.

The grand opening is this Saturday. Already, the venue has shows booked for the center this year.