by Zacch Estrada-Petersen

CORNELIUS – Local artists and performers will shine in downtown Cornelius Oct. 19 during the ‘Tawba Walk.

Cornelius-based community development company Bella Love will present the art crawl, which highlights local shops, businesses and talents.

“Our goal is to connect the community – artists, performers, businesses and individuals – through emphasizing cultural arts-driven events that raise awareness about the wonderful benefits of keeping it local,” Case Warnemunde, founder of Bella Love, said.

Warnemunde, 26, who moved to Cornelius in 2010 from Cincinnati, created the company to support the talented people he met in the area whose works he felt were going unnoticed.

“As I started meeting people, I just encountered so many incredible artists, musicians and businesses who were not only not flourishing as they should be, but many of whom were going under,” Warnemunde said.

“The idea came from the thought that if I value these people like I feel that I do, then I think others would as well. I just tried to come up with a way to put all of this together in a way where everyone can support each other and we can bridge that gap between the starving artist and the average consumer.”

With that in mind, the purpose of the art crawl is to specifically feature the talents and works of Lake Norman-based artists.

Warnemunde expects between 25 and 30 art vendors at the crawl, but there will also be live painters, professional hula-hoopers, a graffiti wall and a photo booth. Three music groups will perform including The Stoney Creek Boys.

“I think in order to bring the people out who are going to buy the artwork, you have to draw them in through a couple different angles,” Warnemunde said. “There’s going to be so much going on in the area other than just the artwork, but for lack of a better term, ‘art crawl’ is what we’re going with.”

One of the people Warnemunde is most proud to present is Cornelius-based artist Justin Christenbery.

“His work is mesmerizing,” Warnemunde said, referring to Christenbery’s abstract painting style. “He does some really interesting paintings that just suck the viewer in. His art is all about creating an experience for the viewer.”

Bella Love collaborated with dance and fitness company KadiFit, as well as the Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department to help put on the event.

Aside from art, Warnemunde maintains that the primary focus is on building an atmosphere of continued community support.

“It’s all about everybody coming together to celebrate Cornelius,” he said. “We are asking local residents to get behind us in this initiative to spark a renewed excitement for our community and its incredible members.”

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