About Us

The Community Arts Project strives to bring unique, high quality, fun arts programming to all ages!

  • The Community Arts Project is a Nonprofit arts organization which has been providing unique process-oriented art experiences and education to the Lake Norman area for over 15 years.
  • We offer a full line of art classes for adults, teens, youth and both art and music classes for toddlers as young as 12 months.
  • CAP’s outreach through our “hubCAPs” program allows us to bring art into the community at a variety of events and helps us fulfill our mission of bringing “Art Within Reach” to our community.
  • We operate a full ceramics studio and several classrooms as well as a gallery with art for sale.
  • We provide a warm and welcoming environment for students of all skill levels to explore their creativity and find expression through the arts.




The Community Arts Project became the new name for two existing non-profit organizations that completed a merger in July 2009. Creative Art Exchange and The Children’s Arts Project discovered many synergies while working side by side in the Cornelius Arts Center. After an extensive Study Committee, collaboration between the Boards of Directors and with the guidance and support of the Arts and Science Council they decided to become one non-profit entity. After being the sole provider of arts programming in the Cornelius Arts Center for over 5 years, the Community Arts Project has since branched out to their new facility in the Chair Factory on N. Main St Cornelius. The Community Arts Project is very excited about the possibilities this new facility brings and is looking forward to providing amazing art experiences to students from 18 months to Adults for years to come.

Creative Art Exchange

Founded in 2003 as the Icehouse Center for Creativity, Craft & Design, the organization moved from a focus on primarily ceramics and woodworking classes, to an organization with an array of visual art classes as well as events and community programs open to the public (gallery exhibits, art lectures, independent films, community art days, etc.). 

In September 2006, Creative Art Exchange took the lead in developing a visual arts center in North Mecklenburg County that built on and implemented key elements of the ASC North Mecklenburg Cultural Plan.  Through a strong vision in the North Mecklenburg Cultural Action Plan and a good working relationship among the region’s visual arts organization and the towns, we were able to fully develop a center concept, gain support from the Town of Cornelius, and negotiate a space in downtown Cornelius in less than three months. 

Creative Art Exchange championed this process because we firmly believe in the value of strong working partnerships among ASC organizations and local governments.  We hope this type of leadership underscores our commitment not only to successfully running our own organization, but to the Arts and Science Council's vision for cultural facilities in our region.

The Children’s Arts Project

CAP was started informally by Melissa Olhman-Roberge and a group of parents in 1997; through a combined interest in creating hands-on, process-based creative opportunities for parents and children to experience together. Since 1999, CAP has maintained an art studio. Originally located in Huntersville, our main studio is currently located in Cornelius, North Carolina.

CAP's diverse art and music programs are interdisciplinary and utilize both traditional and non-traditional tools of instruction. Classes and events are supported by a core of artist/educators who collaborate on the development of activities.

CAP was named an Associate Organization of the Arts & Science Council/Charlotte Mecklenburg in 2004. CAP was incorporated on September 7, 1999 and received tax-exempt status under section 501-c-3 of the federal tax code on June 9, 2000.  CAP is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors, and supported by adult and student volunteers.

As CAP has grown, so have requests for our programs. We continue to develop mobile possibilities and in 2006, launched HubCAPS, a mobile art program bringing quality arts programming to sites throughout North Mecklenburg, as well as, Lincoln County. CAP classes also travel to a variety of locations for community events and out reach programs.The Children's Arts Project, inc. combines art and play in a dynamic line-up of exciting, educational, and affordable programs. Research supports the positive social and academic benefits of experiencing the arts. CAP uses creativity to enrich, excite, inspire, develop, nourish, feed, stimulate, motivate, and "imaginate" children...and their parents.