CORNELIUS – The Community Arts Project fears going into the red after moving to a new office and falling short of its financial projections.

The nonprofit hopes to raise $46,000 to keep its art and music programs open.

Last year, Cornelius broadened its art initiatives by adding new programs and classes, as CAP struggled to maintain its identity and needed to move from the town's art center.

Moving to the Chair Factory on North Main Street has forced CAP to rethink how to best serve clients from Cornelius, Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville, Denver and Cornelius.

The $46,000 will cover costs until the end of the fiscal year, June 30, and give CAP time to kick-start other fundraising ideas, apply for grants and revamp its business model. 

“The board, which has nine people, us and the treasurer completed a business plan,” Executive Director Cathy Templeton said. “We followed the whole budget. We moved on a shoestring budget with U-Hauls and very little upfront costs.

“We didn’t look at ourselves as a start-up because we had been here for 15 years, but it was still more like a start-up than expected with set up and deposits,” she added. “Fall attendance went down like it usually does because that’s when kids go back to school. The revenue streams we projected didn’t happen.”

CAP began as the Children’s Art Project in Huntersville and the Creative Art Exchange in Davidson. The two entities merged to form CAP in 2011 because they were both based out of the Cornelius Arts Center and had the same overarching mission to offer art opportunities to the community.

“Our nonprofit's mission is to have art within reach and make it affordable,” Templeton said. “We don’t want art to be intimidating or cost-prohibitive.”

The instructors feel they are set apart by not having process-based art — students don’t have to follow a certain set of instructions or make the same thing as everyone else. It’s about individual creativity. Outreach is also a big component, offering free activities throughout Lake Norman.

The new space offers rooms for youth, teens and adult painting, manual press and other opportunities, plus youth music classes. Rooms can be rented out for parties, events or teaching space. CAP plans to offer more than 40 summer camps.

To raise money, CAP hosts its annual Have a Heart valentine-making event 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 8. Though free, donations will be shared between CAP and the Buddy Kemp Caring House, a cancer support center.

From 6 to 10 p.m., CAP holds an evening of music featuring Billy Jones and the Pocket and Rusty Knox, among others. Tickets cost $20 and include drinks and snacks.

All the money goes directly to CAP. Raffle tickets are also available to buy.

Other ways to help are by donating money, giving arts supplies and recyclable materials, joining the board of directors or volunteering as a receptionist. Businesses can also sponsor rooms and events.

“Either way, we would have to cut costs extremely. But at this point, we are thrilled to be talking about fundraising instead of just shutting down without telling anyone,” Office Manager Tracy Keehnle said. “We wanted people to know that we need financial support or it could end up being dissolved.”