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Justin Dionne’s passion project Susan Irvin’s historic digs Michael Orlando’s musical balance


California’s AXIS Dance Company comes to Davidson College




The 2017 Fall Arts Preview



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Contents August 2017 vol. 10 No. 8

20  Make a Mess Michael Orlando’s finds his rhythm

24  Navigators Justin Dionne spearheads a new creative hub

62  On the Circuit What’s happening at Lake Norman this month

64  Lori’s Larks Editor Lori K. Tate gets a caffeinated culture fix at Donna Downey Studios

About the Cover:

Cover photo of The AXIS Dance Company by David DeSilva in Latham Square.

Channel Markers Movers, shakers and more at the lake

13  LKN W8Less offers physical and mental fun

14  Four Corners Framing

Gallery preserves memories and more

16  ASC’s Culture Feast comes to Cornelius

18  Carolina Grace charts a course for the future

26 T  rends + Style Artsy touches

Lake Spaces

How we live at the lake AUGUST 2017

46  Dwellings

Susan Irvin wrote a new chapter for a historic home


Dine + Wine

Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

56  Wine Time

28 G  ame On

Meditation in motion

Wesley Choplin’s novel approach

57  On Tap

Yoga and beer


58  Nibbles + Bites

Casual eating at The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden

60  In the Kitchen

with Jill Dahan Proper Pesto

36 A  rts + Culture

The 2017 Fall Arts Preview

10225 Hickorywood Hill Ave, Unit A, Huntersville, NC 28078 704.749.8788 |

Lake Norman CURRENTS is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery to the most affluent Lake Norman residents. It also is available at area Harris Teeter supermarkets, as well as various Chambers of Commerce, real estate offices and specialty businesses. The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Oasis Magazines, Inc.

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from Where I Sit

The magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home


An Artistic Path

MacAdam Smith


Advertising Director



started taking piano lessons when I was in third grade. My mom found a wonderful teacher just minutes from my elementary school. As soon as I touched the first key, I knew piano was the instrument for me. We had an old piano at home, but it had a blocky touch that made practicing challenging for my little fingers. Being a true only child, I convinced my parents to buy a new piano. If they did, I promised I would practice 30 minutes a day, with the exception of a weekend here and there. They went for it, and soon a brand new Kohler & Campbell console made its home in our house. It was a dream to play, and I gladly practiced as I said I would. My mom would set the oven timer so I would know when my 30 minutes were up. Sometimes I would play longer. Sometimes I would play because I was upset about something at school. Sometimes I would just play. Piano became my confidant, my special super power. It opened more doors for me than I can count, academically and socially. Through piano I learned to sing, and through singing, I discovered acting. Through acting I met my husband. It’s the chain that links everything together, and the beginning of the chain starts with my mother. My mom didn’t have the best childhood, but she persevered and graduated with honors from high school. When she married my dad, the one thing she

Photo by Glenn Roberson

by Lori K. Tate

wanted more than anything was to have a child. She wanted to give that child the childhood she never had. Lucky for me, I got to be that child. From the beginning, my mom was always looking for interesting opportunities for me. She signed me up for ballet at age 5 and happily drove me to dance class every Monday. She’d wait in the car while I had my piano lessons. In middle school, she found a music camp for me at a nearby college. She even found a writing camp for me. In high school when I played “Sandy” in our school’s production of Grease, she let me wear her wedding dress for the prom scene. She happily cut it to tea length so it would fit the time period. Knowing I probably wouldn’t wear the dress when I got married, she wanted me to be able to wear it for something. My mom turned 80 last month, and over the past couple of years, she’s been diagnosed with various things that make life more challenging than it needs to be. It’s not fair, but aging never

seems to play by the rules. Her declining health coupled with the fact that I’m currently raising my own children frequently sends me back in time. When I ask my son to practice piano, I hear the oven timer going off at my parents’ house. When I put my daughter’s hair in a bun for dance, a skill that I lack but do lovingly, I remember my mom putting Dippity Do in my hair. Dozens of memories flood my mind, and they all involve her navigating this wonderful path for me, a path for which I will be forever grateful. It’s a testament to a mother’s love and the power of the arts. Years ago I tried to repay her for what she’d done for me. We went to Boston, and I bought tickets for the Boston Pops Orchestra for us. As a child she had listened to the Pops on the radio, dreaming of what it would be like to actually see it. We had a blast, but it was only a small installment on an incredible debt. The only way for me to show her how much I appreciate what she did for me is to do the same for my children. So as I drive them to piano lessons, music camp and hand bells, feeding them snacks in the car on the way, I think about how my mom drove her Oldsmobile all over town for me, searching for the next opportunity. I can only hope I chart a path as well as she did.

Sharon Simpson

Editor Lori K. Tate

Advertising Sales Executives

Carole Lambert

Cindy Gleason

Beth Packard

Trisha Robinson

Social Media Specialist Michele Chastain

Publication Design & Production idesign2, inc Mission Statement: Lake Norman

CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman.

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channelMarkers Movers, Shakers, Style, Shopping, Trends, Happenings and More at Lake Norman

Bounce, Flip, Smile W8Less LKN offers physical and mental fun


Owner Paige Coleman with her husband, Peter, and daughter, Paris.


he front doors to W8less LKN were unlocked for merely minutes when the first group of nearly twodozen kids arrived to bounce and smile their way through a birthday party. Elsewhere on the main floor, toddlers under 4 were finishing the twice weekly Flips and Giggles Class, adults were straining their way through the eight-obstacle ninja course, and teens, loads of them, were flipping and flying everywhere. It was quite a grand opening. When Paige Coleman, formerly of White Lightning Dance and Cheer, made the decision to open the lake’s first trampoline and ninja park

on Bailey Road in Cornelius, she envisioned a challenging, edgy, healthy, safe and exciting place where kids, adults, families, groups, teams and even companies could come to exercise, bond and have fun. “I wanted something for everyone, and with W8less, I got to pick and customize every detail, the parts I thought would do well in this area, and I think what we have appeals to just about everyone,” Coleman says. “We are smaller, have more control with safety inside the facility, and with our experience in gymnastics, have the capability to teach proper techniques and the proper

ways to flip. We can hit just about every area of fitness and exercise.” While the more than 30 trampolines, tumble tracks, in-ground foam pits, basketball hoops and multi-level ninja course offers an obvious physical challenge, Coleman says W8less tests the mind, too. “Everyone gets a workout when they come in here. Sure it’s physical, but it also tests your brain. You have to figure out how to get across or through obstacles, the trampolines take you outside your comfort zone, and you have to push yourself past your fears,” she explains. “And if a kid can accomplish and

succeed in here, they gain that necessary self-confidence that carries over into their day.” In addition to being open to the walk-in general public during all hours, W8less offers early morning boot camps, exercise classes, camps, party space, corporate and team building/ bonding events, and overnight slumbers. In the fall, it will soon add supervised after-school programs for kids of all ages. — Mike Savicki, photography by Brant Waldeck 

W8Less LKN 10442-A Bailey Road Cornelius


A guest flies like Michael Jordan at Cornelius’ W8Less LKN.


For the Long Run

Framing a Future Kim Saragoni preserves memories and a whole lot more at Four Corners Framing Gallery



ometimes our careers find us. That’s exactly what happened to Kim Saragoni, owner of Four Corners Framing Gallery in Downtown Mooresville. About two months after moving to Matthews from Florida in 1990 with her family, Saragoni decided she wanted to go back to work. She drove around and discovered that Michaels was opening in The Arboretum Shopping Center in South Charlotte. This was the first Michaels in the Charlotte region, and Saragoni helped build the store out. “This room in the back started to come alive, and it’s the holy grail of the store, and I was fascinated with what I learned to be the framing department,” recalls Saragoni, who got a job in the department and soon became certified by the Professional Picture Framers Association. She eventually worked her way up to the corporate team before leaving the company when she moved to Mooresville. She took a break from framing for 11 years while she worked at what is now the Lowe’s YMCA, but her love for framing never wavered. In 2006 she decided it was time to get back to her craft, so she opened her own framing shop. She started on Broad Street with 800 square feet. She then moved to a location on Main Street that offered 1,400 square

feet. When the economy tanked, she downsized to 600 square feet on Main Street. “My private sector client had basically gone away. I was a luxury,” Saragoni explains. “I really tucked it in, and I marketed corporate and commercial. I incubated for four years in that small location.” When the economy began to improve, she opened the gallery of her dreams — a 2,400-square-foot space at 148 North Main Street. “There were 15 years of women-owned businesses in this space [The Garden Party and L2], so the legacy kind of continues,” she explains. “It made perfect sense for me to be here. The ghosts in this building were awesome.” Saragoni’s sharp business sense also made the move a good one, as she realized she’d have to expand her services to make it work. Now she’s essentially running three businesses through Four Corners Framing Gallery. Framing is the number one service she offers, but then there’s her art gallery, where she currently represents 17 artists in-house. In addition, she rents her space out for events. “We have digital media, so we can do PowerPoint presentations and slide shows. The walls for the gallery’s interior all move and all have storage, so the space

Kim Saragoni sits with her dogs, Gracie and Roo, at Four Corners Framing Gallery in Downtown Mooresville.

is absolutely flex,” Saragoni explains. “We can clear it out, and set six eight-foot round tables in here for a rehearsal dinner. We can rent 50 chairs and show a documentary film. We’ve shown two already.” One or two Friday evenings a month you’ll find artists painting live in the gallery. Guests are encouraged to sip on a glass of wine and take everything in. Saragoni also hosts weekly yoga classes in the space, but framing always has and always will be first. While she knows big box stores offer framing services, she also knows she can offer her clients more flexibility and options. “I get to negotiate my costs and some of my expenses because I’m independent,” explains Saragoni. “You’re dealing with the owner. You’re dealing with the people who are invested here.” Saragoni says her goal as a framer is to educate her clients on what’s available and what

processes would work best for what they want preserved. One of her favorite projects involved framing a Civil War flag that was stamped with seven battles and had been authenticated by the Smithsonian. It still had blood residue on it from the soldier who tucked in his pocket before dying on a battlefield. She’s also framed an authentic sheepskin diploma that belongs to a local lawyer. It was her grandfather’s law degree from Europe. “Preservation is the forefront of why you should really get things under glass,” says Saragoni. “At any given time there are a couple of memories tucked under the counter waiting to go under glass. … We shed tears, and we share laughter with our clients.” — Lori K. Tate, photography by Ken Noblezada 

Four Corners 148 North Main Street Mooresville

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Get back in motion


Convenient Culture f you’re looking for an arts fix to kick off your fall, Culture Feast is for you. The Arts & Science Council (ASC) hosts its third annual Culture Feast on the evening of September 8 in Old Town Cornelius. This is the

Dancing is on the docket for the evening.


first year that the event will have a second location in addition to Charlotte’s Culture Feast, which takes place the same night in Uptown.

According to Krista Terrell, vice president of marketing and communications at the ASC, leaders in Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville wanted a Culture Feast in North Mecklenburg for its residents and secured dollars to make it happen Cultural organizations from the Lake Norman area will be highlighted at the Cornelius celebration as a way to build community engagement and make people aware of all the cultural assets in the Lake Norman community. During the evening, guests will enjoy a community table dinner with friends, old and new. Theater performances, visual arts demonstrations and science displays will entertain guests throughout the meal. After dinner, a portion of the street will open up for a dance party featuring music by The Lake Norman Big Band.

Culture Feast serves a large helping of the arts

A community table dinner is a highlight of Culture Feast.

City, North Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg, East Charlotte and West Charlotte.” — Lauren Westbrook, photography courtesy of ASC

“The event is so different. Where else could you have dinner in the street with complete strangers, over food, shared stories, ending with a dance party? This is an opportunity for a unique cultural experience in a convenient location,” says Terrell. “Our aspiration is to have a Culture Feast happening in all areas of the county at the same time: Center

ASC Culture Feast Old Town Cornelius September 8, 7- 11 p.m. Single tickets $35, two tickets for $60 using the promo code CultureForAll at







Sam Furr Road, East of I-77, Exit 25 Northcross Village Shopping Ctr Extension (704) 896-8881


I-77, Exit 36 West Mooresville Crossing near Best Buy (704) 664-3090

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We’re Just Crazy About

Kristen Feighery’s Outer Banks Art

Lazy Susan, $80.

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Davidson artist Kristen Feighery, owner of the former Sanctuary Gallery in downtown Davidson, has created a round piece featuring the most popular lighthouses in the Outer Banks. “I spent a lot of my childhood in the Outer Banks and still visit about Double-sided ornament, $15. three weeks every year,” explains Feighery. “It’s in my blood, and I just adore it, so it made sense to paint the parts of it that make it so special to me, such as the lighthouses.” Feighery has created functional art from her original piece, such as lazy susans ($80), glass cutting boards ($32), cheese plates ($22), sandstone coasters ($9 each) and double-sided ornaments ($15). She sells them locally at Wooden Stone in Davidson (445 S. Main Street, #200, Davidson,, and they can also be purchased at — Lori K. Tate, photography by Kristen Feighery


Luxury with Heart

Carolina Grace charts a course for a new era



Carolina Grace offers all of the amenities for a successful event. Top right from left, owners Stephen Branum and Jeremy Thompson.

uilding a custom home is challenging, so imagine building a custom home, taking it apart and transporting it 400 miles to be reassembled. That’s exactly what Stephen and Kim Branum and Jeremy and Debbie Thompson recently experienced as they had a 100foot custom yacht built for their business, Luxury Yacht Charters. After being transported from Kentucky in three flatbed trucks, Carolina Grace sailed across Lake Norman’s waters for the first time at the end of June. Jeremy and Stephen made their first trip to Kentucky regarding the project in 2011. Their company has offered yacht charters since 2003 and operates out of Morningstar Marinas in Cornelius. Though the

company’s former boat was nice, it was essentially a converted houseboat, so it had its limitations. Over the years they learned what they needed from a boat, and they incorporated all of that into Carolina Grace’s design. The two-level boat can accommodate up to 150 people and features large bars on both levels. The first level is equipped with a bridal suite, caterer’s kitchen, two sets of rest rooms and an office. The boat was designed so it can host one large event or two separate smaller events. “We’ve built the boat so we have the ability to do two parties at once,” explains Kim. “There are a lot of groups who have 40 people. We’ll match them with an

appropriate group, but they won’t cross over.” Carolina Grace also helps with the company’s 501(c)(3), Charters for Charity. In January 2016, Charters for Charity attained its non-profit status so it can help other foundations in the community raise money. “We came up with the idea a long time ago and had a loose name of Charters for Charity because we knew that we would be able to help charities be charities,” explains Jeremy. “One of the biggest challenges that a charity has is obviously the fundraising aspect.” “We wanted to help groups anyway we could,” says Kim, who serves as the executive director of Charters for Charity. “We can either donate to their

silent auctions. We can give them the discount rate for an event. Once a month we select an organization where we completely donate the yacht.” In 2016, Charters for Charity raised more than $80,000 for non-profits, including Bring it 4 Braylon, OpWalk Carolinas and the Thomas Davis foundation. “Our goal this year was to double that,” says Kim, adding that they are hosting an event for the Steve Smith Foundation this month. “With the boat being here so late in the season, we’re still hoping we can do that because we’re year-round.” 

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Finding his Rhythm Michael Orlando’s evolution to a full life

by Rosie Molinary photography by Brant Waldeck

Davidson’s Michael Orlando nurtures his love of music daily.



ichael Orlando’s first love was music. He grew up in a musical family and started playing piano by the time he was 8. While piano wasn’t the right instrument for him, his time with it taught him the fundamentals. When he began to play acoustic instruments like guitar and mandolin in high school, he found the perfect expression for his creativity. “When I finally got to the form of music that was more jazz and had more freedom, I realized this was something that I could really do,” recalls Orlando, 37, whose grandfather and great grandfather also played

mandolin. As an undergraduate, Orlando studied classics and worked with a mandolin teacher at Davidson College. He also formed a band, Cast Iron Filter. “It was my friends, and it morphed into this weird thing that just kinda took off. By my senior year, we were playing 100 shows a year,” says Orlando. “When I graduated, we had a manager and agent, and it was more of a professional effort even though we were still kids. We did 200250 shows for many years and slugged it out on the road as a mandolin-oriented rock band writing original music.” A few years later, the

exhaustion of living on the road, new marriages and just growing up caused the band to defuse. Orlando went to Nashville to see what life was like there as a musician. “If you are an instrumentalist, you have to go to a big city and challenge yourself,” Orlando explains. But in Nashville, he saw that talented musicians still had really hard lives. “I thought there’s got to be a better way to do this where you can play music on your own terms,” he remembers. “My goal became to do this how I want.” What Orlando wanted to do was to find other expressions for his creativity that allowed

Behind the


What inspires you? The brief stint we have on this earth. What is essential to your creativity? Solitude. I crave and seek out as much time alone as I can find. Why does creativity matter? If you believe in any version of evolution and your sense of time on this planet, then the only thing that matters is what you do to make it better. What has creativity taught you? Patience. Creativity is… An expression of evolution.

The Ava Gallery in downtown Davidson is named after Orlando’s daughter.

holistic mission is to make Davidson more interesting. As we work on the next project, we think about is this interesting, are we improving things, are we contributing to the vibrancy of this community? That was the genius of Flatiron. We had this beautiful space on Main Street,

who I am. This new restaurant is the opportunity to show these things off — drawing the family piece, the music piece and the restaurant piece all into one and using the iconography of music to create the vibe,” he says. “It will be informal but using the highest quality ingredients we can find. It is an effort to be the kind of pizza that I want to eat, the kind of place that you could take your family a couple nights a week and not feel like you are going broke.” While Orlando’s real estate career is booming, he still comes home to music every day. “My great luxury item in life is that I have a dedicated studio space. My wife sends me there every day,” he says. “I leave instruments out — if you leave it out, you will play much more than if not. I play music every day. My daughter gets it all.”


him to keep music in his life on his terms while positively contributing to the world. He settled in Davidson and started a real estate career that now includes a growing portfolio of restaurants (including Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse). “At The Stewart Group, our

and we thought, ‘Let’s try this restaurant thing,’ ” explains Orlando, whose company recently opened a residential real estate office and art gallery, The Ava Gallery, named after Orlando’s daughter, on Main Street. When the opportunity arose to open another restaurant on Main Street, Orlando, whose family is Italian, synthesized several of his life experiences to create the concept: a farmto-fork pizza joint called Mandolino’s that he’ll open with his restaurant partners in September. “Mandolins are a part of


thoughts from the Man Cave

Are You Ready for Some Football(in August)?

by Mike Savicki Photography courtesy of Dan Ortel

Ready or not, and I’m not, kickoff is right around the corner



’ll admit that when I looked at the calendar and saw weekends through the month of August would be filled with NFL preseason football, I did a double take. Panthers training camp and Fan Fest are on the horizon. Then it’s games against the Texans, Titans, Jaguars and Steelers all before Labor Day. How could that be? Football is actually here again, and I haven’t yet mastered paddle boarding or wake surfing. Full disclosure, I have yet to go paddle boarding or wake surfing but judging by the weekend lake traffic, others surely have, and I’m jealous. But with the now nearly year-round cycle of football — rookie combine, the draft, OTA’s, training camp, preseason, regular season, playoffs and the Super Bowl — filling all but a few fleeting months, and major sports networks talking up the sport during the remaining few, it’s difficult to put football out of our minds if we wanted to. Even if the wounds of our Super Bowl loss to Denver two years ago still haven’t fully healed. To get in the spirit of the upcoming season, I did what I thought a not-yet-ready NFL football fan might do, I turned to an expert in hype, spirit, psyche up, drink up, eat up and all things football fan to help me find energy for the impending season. I reached out to Denver’s newest resident (and by Denver, I mean the town on the western side of Lake Norman, not the Bronco-

hosting Colorado city one mile high). Meet one of America’s reputably greatest hosts of fan pregame. Behind the rope, Dan Ortel goes by a few different titles — DJ Dano, Dan “Twelfth Man” Ortel and the Head Coach of Tailgating to name a few — and he is known nationally as a “Top Ten Legend of Tailgating.” Dan bleeds Panther black and blue and is on Jerry Richardson’s speed dial. Even his kids, Matthew and Meghan, sometimes have trouble convincing their friends that their dad, whose truck is covered with logos, does not work for the Panthers. You see, in 1995, the then full-time Waxhaw resident did what roughly tens of thousands of other football fans did on Sunday afternoons as summer turned to fall, and Carolina Panthers football tried to set roots in Charlotte. He, like you and me, left his Redskins, Falcons, Packers or ________ (insert name of football team you grew up with but moved away from here) gear at home, searched for some sort of black and blue clothing (to at least show some sort of allegiance to the NFL’s newest expansion team), packed a cooler, staked out a tailgating location, fired up a charcoal grill, popped open a beer, then headed in to catch kickoff. He then did it again and again and again, each season growing his tailgate bit by bit. Fast-forward more than 20 years, and Dan’s “Pantherfanz Tailgating” (see pantherfanz.

Dan Ortel’s Pantherfanz Tailgating is stuff of legend.

net for the full scoop) is stuff of legend. On any given weekend, anywhere between 80 and 300 (thanks to a massive influx of rabid Ravens fans a few seasons ago) pack a dedicated, fully reserved parking lot, complete with a remodeled school bus (props to friend, James Hastings), satellite television, dedicated Wi-Fi, customized tents, banners, smokers and grills, a pop-up bar, rock bands, and, yes, even security. Menu planning and RSVPs are fully electronic, and attendees travel from as far away as Canada. Fans from opposing teams attend as well. Dan is a consummate professional when it comes to tailgating, so I asked him if I should try to get excited about football in August. “August definitely isn’t too early for football,” the 54 year-old Microsoft account technology strategist says. “Preseason is fun, and it gives you a little sense of everything. It gets you fired up and excited

for the regular season, and it gives you the chance to build friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. It’s the camaraderie that starts in the parking lot that has made my love for the game stronger through the years, and I’m not the only one. “And football plays into life no matter when,” he continues. “Sure it is a game, but so, too, are parts of life. What is the same are the lessons from adversity, the lessons about perseverance and even the tenants about business we take away.” So thanks, Dan, for the energy and enlightenment. Bring on football, I say. Here’s to a rabid defensive line, a strong secondary, receivers with sticky fingers, an offensive line like a wall, Cam with lots of time on his feet, the Falcons in a Super Bowl hangover and a special season of memories (beginning in the parking lot) about to reveal itself. Keep pounding, Panthers.

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Justin Dionne spearheads a new creative hub for the Lake Norman region

As executive director of the future Cornelius Arts Center, Justin Dionne gets to play the role of a lifetime.



Artistic Direction alisbury native Justin Dionne was first bitten by the performing arts bug while playing trumpet in Return to the Forbidden Planet, a rock ‘n’ roll version of The Tempest set in outer space. “I loved the lights and the crowd and all that, but what really grabbed me was that I felt like I was part of a cool club,” he remembers. “It was a true community, and I loved it.” That high school experience set Dionne on a career path that culminated recently into being named the executive director of the Cornelius Arts Center, a new multifaceted facility that’s poised to become the cultural hub for the Lake Norman region.

A natural progression

Dionne, 32, is head fundraiser, cheerleader and creative force behind the project, which started in 2013 when voters approved a $4 million bond referendum to create a new town arts center. The facility received another boost in June when North Carolina Rep. John Bradford, a Cornelius resident, announced he had secured $100,000 from the state to help launch the Cornelius Arts Center. “This is a great start, but we still have a lot of fundraising to do,” says Dionne. The center will be located on a 1.85-acre parcel on Catawba Avenue next to Potts Barber Shop that includes a century-old cotton gin, which

will be incorporated into the facility. Cornelius owns the land and will lease the yet-to-be-built venue to the Cornelius Art Center, which will operate as an independent nonprofit. While still in the planning stages, the center is expected to have a flexible theater space designed to host plays, live music and dance performances. There are also plans for a ceramics center, art studios and galleries. When local officials started the search for someone to take charge of the Cornelius Arts Center earlier this year, Dionne was at Florida State University with his wife, Rachel, pursuing a master’s degree in theater management. He landed in Florida following a four-year stint as managing artistic

by Sam Boykin photography by Brant Waldeck

director at Lee Street Theatre, an award-winning venue in Salisbury that he helped create and build from the ground up. It was all a natural progression for Dionne, whose parents both played guitar and sang at area churches when he was growing up. Eventually Dionne and his siblings — he’s the oldest of four — started performing with their parents, and Dionne discovered he had a real passion and talent for music. He took up the guitar and trumpet, played in his middle and high school band, and eventually started performing at Piedmont Players Theatre in Salisbury, where he was part of the previously mentioned Return to the Forbidden Planet musical.

A good start

in 2012, with Dionne working as managing artistic director, launched a $1.5 million capital campaign to transform an old warehouse in downtown Salisbury into a performing arts space. The Lee Street Theatre & Performing Arts Center opened in November 2013 and soon emerged as a pioneering leader in the revitalization of the Railwalk Arts District in downtown Salisbury.

More than art

Four years later, looking for the next adventure, Dionne and Rachel headed to Tallahassee, where Dionne started pursuing a master’s degree at Florida State University. But shortly before they left, he did some consulting work for the Cornelius Arts Center and immediately recognized the nascent project as a unique and promising opportunity. “While in Florida, I kept tabs

“I wanted to be part of a community and be with family and friends,” says Justin Dionne. on the center,” he says. “When I found out they were searching for an executive director, I threw my hat in the ring.” Dionne landed the job following a grueling twomonth interview process and officially started June 4. He and Rachel settled in Antiquity just across Highway 115 from the Cornelius Arts Center site. He says one of the best perks about his new job is the area’s sense of community, which he believes will be greatly enhanced by the new arts center. “This is about more than just art,” he says. “We are establishing a regional anchor that will help spur growth and make this area more attractive. This is a planning process that started years ago, and it’s really exciting to see that original vision coming to fruition.”


Dionne went to Catawba College in Salisbury and studied theater arts. During the summers, he performed in various summer stock productions, including Horn in the West, a popular outdoor drama in Boone. “It didn’t pay great, and I rented this tiny apartment with bunkbeds, but it was still a great experience,” he recalls. Dionne quit college for a while to pursue acting full time, but he quickly realized that meant constantly moving and working from gig to gig. “The lifestyle just wasn’t for me,” he says. “I wanted to be part of a community and be with family and friends.” After he graduated from college, Dionne continued to seek out new adventures. He moved briefly to New York and then Chicago, where he pursued acting gigs and gained valuable experience in the

technical side of the business, including stage production and light design. He also had stints working as an HVAC technician, legal assistant and carpenter. Eventually, he moved back home to Salisbury, and in 2010 landed the job of technical director at Piedmont Players Theatre, where he first got his start. About a year later he was promoted to marketing director and became increasingly immersed in the local scene — directing a few plays and serving on the board of Lee Street Theatre, which at the time was a fledgling Salisbury group that rented space for its performances. It was during this time that he and a friend, Bill Greene, hatched the idea of expanding Lee Street Theatre into a viable organization that could offer other companies a performance venue. The duo put together a proposal, and



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Produced by Lori K. Tate photography by Lisa Crates



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in Motion



Marsha Brodsky leads a tai chi class at The Pines in Davidson.

by Mike Savicki


photography by Ken Noblezada

Tai chi is a slow motion, low-impact exercise that incorporates a series of movements together without pausing.


arsha Brodsky has always described herself as a gogetter. Never one to slow down at work or at home, she would pack as much into her days as possible. Caffeine fueled her constant rush from activity to activity and meeting to meeting. Slowing down was not in her vocabulary. Then an Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) diagnosis changed everything. In addition to making lifestyle changes, her doctor suggested she take a tai chi class. She dutifully but reluctantly agreed and began attending. But after three months she returned to her doctor. “These people aren’t working,” the Davidson resident recalls telling her doctor. “Do you really want me to stay with it?”


Tai chi offers mind, body and spirit benefits for area seniors



Huntersville’s Joe Higgins, 72, has been a certified tai chi instructor, originally trained and certified by the acclaimed Dr. Paul Lam, for more than a decade.


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Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi is a slow motion, lowimpact exercise that incorporates a series of movements together without pausing. Muscles and joints stay relaxed, and at the end of a non-competitive, non-aggressive, selfpaced class, students feel refreshed and energized as opposed to fatigued and strained. Tai chi has demonstrated improvements in balance, strength and flexibility in the elderly, while also helping to improve cognitive brain function and reduce stress for all ages. Huntersville’s Joe Higgins, 72, has been a certified tai chi instructor, originally trained and certified by the acclaimed Dr. Paul Lam, for more than a decade. He currently teaches through Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture. “It starts with ‘chi’, or energy, and flows from there,” Higgins explains. “It is about slow movements all connecting together, almost like we are doing a slowly moving dance where everything is connected. It is about lengthening muscles and tendons; then it is about strength and control.” Most classes include warm up, repeated tai chi forms done in sets, then “qigong” (gentle breathing combined with relaxing movements) and some meditation. A common misperception is that a person must be flexible to do tai chi when, in fact, the opposite is true says Higgins. Tai chi helps promote flexibility. Originating as a style of martial art thousands of years ago, tai chi is a way of life in the East while only fairly recently gaining popularity, and the attention of the medical community, in the West. Higgins says many of the motions, or “forms” as they are called, are named for animals and can be traced back to a time when Eastern monks studied animal movements to learn selfdefense techniques against foreign invaders. Through history, five major styles evolved — Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun — each named for the Chinese family from which it originated, with Yang being the most widely practiced around the world. Davidson’s Fran Andrich has been a student of Higgins for more than two years. The soon-to-be 70-year-old once struggled up and down her front steps and feared falling; clutching the handrail with every step. She now feels differently. “After a class I feel peaceful and energized,” Andrich says. “I feel relaxed and refreshed, like I’ve done something good for myself.” She believes the camaraderie in the community is unique, too. “I like to know we are all there doing the same thing, each of us focused, yet sharing the experience together. There is a bonding and true friendship. You don’t see that too much this way with seniors.”


Brodsky, who says it is never too late to learn tai chi, finishes a class at Williams Place in Davidson.

Bringing it all together


After making the decision to stick with tai chi, Marsha Brodsky began to see the changes her doctor predicted. By taking weekly classes and also practicing on her own, she lowered her blood pressure and her heart rate. “And I started to feel good, really good. So much so that I made it my life’s calling and became certified to teach,”

says Brodsky, who teaches at The Pines, Baileys Glen, Williams Place, the Glens at Birkdale, St. Albans Church and The Greens at Birkdale. “If I could feel this good through tai chi, I knew others could and should, too.” Brodsky says it’s never too late and that you’re never too old to learn tai chi. Nearly 40 percent of those people over 65, and almost half of those 80 and above, will fall in any

given year, with many falls resulting in broken hips or head injuries. Tai chi can help. By incorporating movements from leg to leg and connecting the mind with the body through memorized forms in classes ranging from 45 minutes to one hour, those numbers can be reduced, effectively keeping seniors healthier and more confident while also reducing the triggers of depression and

isolation. “It takes time and you have to hang in there, almost like the turtle, slow and steady,” Brodsky affirms, “but the results are worth it. When you get your body in motion, and you feel the presence of the patterns, and you use your brain to choreograph movements, it becomes a mind-body-spirit exercise. There is almost nothing else that can compare to it.”




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The 2017

Fall Arts Preview Kick back and let the arts entertain and enthrall you

Compiled by Lori K. Tate

rtesy of AXIS

Photography cou Dance Company



November 10 AXIS Dance Company Davidson College

Radiojacks (August 6) RadioJacks is unique in the cover band world because they only play current radio hits. With their youthful good looks and experience in the music industry, RadioJacks projects a universal appeal to people of all demographics. Where other cover bands shy away from performing solely current hit songs because of the high level of production that they require, RadioJacks brings it to every show, large or small. RadioJacks performs songs from Katy Perry, Bruno Mars,

The Davidson College Symphony & Jazz Ensemble (September 17) The Davidson College Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble of approximately 50 student musicians, all of whom have diverse backgrounds and varying career interests but have a keen passion for music. With only about 4 percent of the group being composed of music majors, the orchestra is an excellent place for students to rehearse and perform in

Eight Track Parade Alexander Community Concert Series

Davidson College Music Department Scholar’s Concert (September 12) Join the students and faculty of Davidson College as they celebrate the start of the school year with an annual concert highlighting the music department scholarship winners. 7:30 p.m. Free. TylerTallman Hall, Sloan Music Center. An evening of Carnatic Music from Southern India: Mallika Vadlamani (September 14) Come experience this unique performance by adjunct instructor Mallika Vadlamani in the traditional south Indian format of Carnatic music that will include a variety of compositions by some of the major composers in this

reception in honor of the musicians sponsored by Ruth and Richard Ault. 3 p.m. Free for Davidson College students, other tickets TBA. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center. An Evening of Music for Organ and Strings: Dongho Lee, organ; Nicholas Kitchen, violin; and Yeesun Kim, cello (September 18) Prize-winning organist Dongho Lee joins with Nicholas Kitchen and Yeesun Kim — members of the acclaimed Borromeo Quartet, currently Quartet-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music — for a concert of music for organ and strings. The program includes works by Max Bruch and Tomaso Vitali, and features Josef Rheinberger’s exquisite Suite for Organ, Violin and Cello, op. 149. 7:30. Free. Davidson College Presbyterian Church.


Davidson’s Concerts on the Green All concerts take place from 6-8 p.m. on the Green in Davidson. The concerts are free, www.

October 1


The Ocie Davis Trio, featuring Lonnie Davis (Date TBA) Experience an afternoon of cool jazz with Ocie Davis on drums, Ron Brendle on bass, Troy Conn on guitar and Lonnie Davis on flute.

Chicago Rewired (September 3) Chicago Rewired is a tribute to Chicago – one the longest running and most successful pop/rock groups in history with record sales topping 100,000,000 including 21 top 10 singles, five consecutive number one albums, 11 number one singles and five gold singles. Chicago Rewired comprises a unique blend of talented and seasoned musicians from all over the Charlotte and Piedmont Triad areas, who have joined forces with the common goal of accurately replicating the timeless music of Chicago.

Concert Series: Brahms and Dvorák (September 17) Enjoy an afternoon of Brahms as local professional musicians perform his String Sextet No.1 in B-flat Major, Op.18. Following the performance, enjoy a

cert Series

Eight Track Parade (October 1) Eight Track Parade is a profoundly polished cover band on the southern rock scene that offers a combination of musical chops and great songwriting. Think refined piano-heavy ‘70s-fueled rock and solid vocal harmonies producing bright melodies and tunes that glide with feel-good momentum.

Kids in America (August 27) Kids in America is a high-energy, power-packed, six-piece band paying tribute to the totally awesome 1980s. From New Wave to pop ballads and rock, Kids in America specializes in recreating visually and delivering musically all of your favorite ’80s hits. Originating in nearby Charlotte, Kids In America is comprised of six professional, hard-working, powerhouse musicians who share their love for all things ’80s.

tradition. 7:30 p.m. Free. TylerTallman Hall, Sloan Music Center.

er Community Con

All concerts begin at 3 p.m. on Sundays at The Episcopal Church of St. Peter By-the-Lake in Denver (8433 Fairfield Forest Road). Adults $15, seniors (65 and above) and students $10, children under 12 free, 704.489.6249.

Gospel Sing (August 20) Enjoy a good ole’ traditional gospel sing.

a collaborative atmosphere while honing their technical skills and broadening their musical knowledge and experience. The Davidson College Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned “big band” of approximately 18 musicians. The group rehearses and performs throughout the year.

rtesy of Alexand

Alexander Community Concert Series

Maroon 5, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and more.

Photography cou


October 21

7 p.m. Free. C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, Alvarez College Union.

Photography courtesy of Davidson College

Barnaby Bright Davidson College

Faculty Recital: Cynthia Lawing, Piano (September 24) Join Artist Associate In Piano Cynthia Lawing as she performs a fabulous program of works for solo piano. 3 p.m. Free. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center.


Davidson College Chorale and Davidson Singers (October 20) The Davidson College Chorale and Davidson Singers offer the first choral concert of the season.

This special performance for friends and family highlights some of the vibrant and challenging repertoire the ensembles are performing this year. 5 p.m. Free. Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (October 20) The DCSO presents highlights from the season in an intimate, up-close setting, including Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Davidson College Jazz Ensemble (October 20) Join the Davidson College Jazz Ensemble as it performs highlights of its season during Davidson College’s Family Weekend celebrations. 9 p.m. Free. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center. Concert Series: Barnaby Bright (October 21) Davidson College welcomes back the award-winning, classicallytrained, indie folk duo Barnaby Bright. Garnering high accolades for their songwriting and sound, they have been featured on television soundtracks such as ER and Days of our Lives, graced such notable venues as Lincoln Center and NPR’s Mountain Stage in West Virginia, and shared stages with such artists as The Lumineers and Norah Jones. Their latest album, This is Life, speaks to where they’ve been, who they are, what they

want and where they’re going. It’s smart pop with an authentic Americana stamp. 8 p.m. Free for Davidson College students, tickets TBA. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center. An Evening with the Classical Guitar: James Easteppe, Guitar (October 26) Join Adjunct Instructor of Guitar James Easteppe, as he takes you through an exciting concert of various repertoire for classical guitar. 7:30 p.m. Free. TylerTallman Hall, Sloan Music Center. Choral Arts Society Fall Concert: Funda nos in pace (October 29) Join the Choral Arts Society of Davidson for the kickoff of its 10th anniversary season. Funda nos in pace, or, “establish us in peace,” features what some call Haydn’s greatest single composition, known as the Lord Nelson Mass or Mass for Troubled Times. Also featured is British composer Cecilia


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Davidson College Symphony Orchestra: An Orchestral Journey (November 2) Join the DCSO on an orchestral journey of time and place, featuring the winners of the annual Concerto Competition, Ravel’s Une Barque sur l’Océan, and Silvestri’s suite from Back

of vocal technique and mastery of harmony. 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required. TylerTallman Hall, Sloan Music Center.

Davidson College Chorale Fall Concert (November 3) The Davidson College Chorale and Davidson Singers bring beautiful music to the Duke Family Performance Hall. The program includes fresh and fun offerings. 7 p.m. Free. Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center. Davidson College Opera presents The Magic Flute (November 17-18) Join the Davidson College Music Department in a night of love, magic, ludicrousness and opera as it presents Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The Opera Workshop brings Mozart’s beloved opera to life. Directed by Carey Kugler and produced by Artist Associate In Voice Jacquelyn Culpepper, this production of the operatic classic is sure to thrill audiences musically with impressive displays

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Jazz Combo Fall Concert (November 30) Under the direction of accomplished saxophonist Tim Gordon, the September 17 Davidson College Symphony & Jazz Ensemble Davidson’s Concerts on the Green

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Davidson Holiday Gala (November 27-28) Performed for consistently sold-out houses, the annual Holiday Gala is a surefire way for your family and friends to usher in the true spirit of the season. Join the Davidson College Music Department — choirs, orchestra,

jazz band, soloists — with special community guests, Dance Davidson and others, in the celebration of the sights and sounds of time-honored holiday traditions. 7:30 p.m. Free for Davidson students, tickets TBA. Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center.

Photography courtesy of Davidson College

Faculty Recital: Scott Hartman, Trombone (October 29) Adjunct instructor of trombone and bass trombonist of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Scott Hartman, invites you to his recital featuring many stimulating works for solo trombone and piano. 7:30 p.m. Free. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center.

to the Future. 7:30 p.m. Free. Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center.



McDowall’s mystical peace anthem, Ave Maris Stella, a work originally intended for Armistice Day performed in the shadow of the events of 9/11. 3 p.m. Free for Davidson College students, tickets TBA. Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Photography courtesy of Music at St. Alban’s

the choruses and hear the solos sung from the most popular portions of Handel’s Messiah. Joined by the exquisite North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, this sing-through will take place in the beautiful and resonant sanctuary of Davidson College Presbyterian Church. 7 p.m. Free for Davidson students, tickets TBA. Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Music at St. Alban’s

All concerts take place at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 301 Caldwell Lane, Davidson) at 3 p.m. General admission $15, students and young adults under 25 $10, seniors (62+)$10, children under 12 free. Tickets are available at the door or for purchase at

November 19 The New River Ensemble Music at St. Alban’s



popular Davidson College Jazz Combo presents an enthralling evening of small group jazz literature and improvisation. 7:30 p.m. Free. Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center.


Vespers: A Service of Lessons and Carols (December 3) Vespers is an annual highlight for the Davidson College community. Davidson College Chorale and campus leaders reflect on the true meaning of the holiday season, featuring

Carolina Brass and the Davidson College Presbyterian Church Handbell Ensemble. 7:30 p.m. Free. Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Messiah Sing-a-long (December 5) In keeping with a time-honored masterwork and a revered tradition, bring your own score (the college will have a few to share) and join the Davidson College Choirs, family, friends and community members from Statesville to Charlotte to sing

Robin Bullock (September 24) Mandolin and guitar virtuoso Robin Bullock performs a program of classical and Celtic music, including his interpretation of Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites played on mandolin. Bach Akademie of Charlotte (October 22) Directed by Kenny Potter, Bach Akademie of Charlotte performs J.S. Bach’s powerful cantata Ein Feste Burg and the motet Der Geist Hilft in the debut performance of this new 16-voice professional choir.

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10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Charles Mack Citizen Center 215 North Main Street, Mooresville Join us for a curated craft fair featuring: Seasonal Gifts • Tasty Treats • Handcrafted Goods • Unique Treasures • Live Music All Under One Roof! • Free Admission 704.663.7026

The New River Ensemble (November 19) The New River Ensemble performs a program of classical and less traditional trio music for clarinet, piano and cello.

Performing Arts Live of Iredell

Performing Arts Live of Iredell holds concerts at the Mac Gray Auditorium at 474 North Center Street in Statesville at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $27.17, students $12.18. Lara Downes with Alexander Bernstein (September 16) American pianist Lara Downes has garnered wide acclaim as one of the most exciting and communicative pianists of today’s generation. She has been called “a delightful artist with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship” by NPR. Born in San Francisco and raised in Europe, Downes has a musical outlook that reflects the diversity of her personal heritage and extensive travels with a wide range of creative projects inspired by music from Bach to Billie Holiday. Alexander Bernstein is Leonard Bernstein’s second child. He is president of Artful Learning Inc. and founding chairman of The Leonard Bernstein Center For Learning.

The SPARC starts with you! Join the SPecial events ARts and Culture Committee today. Interested? Contact: Stephanie Crisco 704-662-3334

Photography courtesy of Performing Arts Live of Iredell

music, and their performances showcase a variety of sounds and styles. They have performed at the Grand Ole Opry House, the National Quartet Convention and Carnegie Hall.

GALLERIES Davidson College Van Every/Smith Galleries, Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center

December 2 The Hall Sisters Performing Arts Live of Iredell

and more in venues and events all over the world from India to Austria. Christmas Holiday Special with Joshua Carswell, Page Park and The Hall Sisters (December 2) Joshua Carswell is a winner of the American Traditions Competition in Savannah, Georgia, one of the nation’s most prestigious vocal contests, and a graduate of Elon University. The Hall Sisters have always been involved in

Lenin Lives (August 17-October 6) Lenin Lives delves into the history of the Russian leader. Panel discussion on Thursday, August 31 at 6 p.m.; opening reception 7-8:30 p.m. Van Every Gallery. Revolution on Display: Soviet Propaganda Posters (August 17-October 6) Revolution on Display: Soviet Propaganda Posters looks at the history of the Soviet Union. Smith Gallery.

Bob Trotman: Business as Usual (October 19-December 8) The opening reception for Bob Trotman: Business as Usual is October 19, 7-8:30 p.m.

Foster’s Frame and Art Gallery

This art gallery is located at 403 N. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville and is open Mon-Fri 10a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m., www. Summer Gallery Crawl (August 18) Summer Gallery Crawl features works by local artists Nellie Ashford, Carolyn Digiovanni, Kelvin Harris and Bryan Wilson. Music provided by local jazz artists. 6:30-9 p.m.

Mooresville Arts

Mooresville Arts is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to provide art and art appreciation for members and the general





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Artrageous (October 7) A long time ago (1980s) in a land far away (Vancouver, Canada) a troupe of misfits decided they wanted to see the world. Together they started the All and Everything Theater, a non-profit children’s theater focusing on children’s entertainment, street theater and life-sized Bunraku Puppetry. That vision evolved into Artrageous, and they have since performed for the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Steve Forbes, General Colin Powell

Opening reception on Thursday, August 31.

1/26/17 10:46 AM



Third Annual North Carolina Open Plein Air Event (August 22-27) Artists from North Carolina and surrounding states participate in this event, where they have the opportunity to paint in nature at chosen locations, including Langtree Plantation, various marinas on the Lake Norman waterfront and selected historical buildings in Downtown Mooresville. The artists will have from 6 a.m. Friday, August 25 to 11 a.m. Sunday, August 27 to complete their paintings. At noon on the day of completion, the Mooresville Arts Gallery will have every painting on display for guests to view until they are removed in September. In addition, Artist Harold Fronz will also hold a three-day painting workshop from August 22-24 that anyone is invited to attend at the Mooresville Arts Depot.

AXIS Dance Company (November 10) Based in Oakland, California, AXIS Dance Company, focuses on the commissioning, creation and performance of contemporary dance developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without physical disabilities.

THEATRE Community School of Davidson (Community High School Productions) November 3-18 Led by Melissa OhlmanRoberge, Community The Explorers School of Davidson (Community High School Club Warehouse PAC Productions) offers productions by members of the community, as well as students at Community School of Davidson. All performances are on the high school campus of Community School of Davidson, 404 Armour Street, Davidson. has been chosen to be a pilot

Tuck Everlasting (October 5-9) Tuck Everlasting is a new musical based on the beloved novel by Natalie Babbitt. Community School of Davidson


November 10

The C. Shaw and Nancy K. Smith Artist Series

AXIS Dance Company Davidson College

This series offers a variety of entertainment for the community. All performances take place in Davidson College’s Duke Family Performance Hall of the Knobloch Campus Center at 8 p.m., Time for Three featuring the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra (September 23) Time for Three consists of violinist Nicolas Kendall, violinist

high school and will be the first in the area to produce this beautifully drawn tale of Winnie Foster, a free spirit who longs for adventure. When she meets Jesse Tuck and family — and discovers they hold the secret to everlasting life — she faces an extraordinary choice: return to her own family, or join the Tucks on their never-ending journey. Times and tickets TBA.

Davidson College Theatre Department

The Dragon (October 20-21, 27-29) The Dragon is Davidson College’s Theatre Department’s entry in the Revolution and… series. A town ruled by a dragon has a chance for freedom thanks to a visit from Sir Lancelot. But

Photography courtesy of Warehouse PAC

Harold Fronz Mooresville Arts

Charles Yang and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer. The trio performs a variety of music from Bach to Brahms and beyond. They will be joined by the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra via a special residency.

Photography courtesy of AXIS Dance Company

August 22-24

Photography courtesy of Mooresville Arts

public. Mooresville Arts resides in the Mooresville Arts Depot, 103 West Center Avenue, Downtown Mooresville, www.mooresvillearts. org.

perhaps the dragon lives within all of us. This comedic allegory by Evgeny Shvarts is deadly earnest, sending echoes from his Soviet world that still reverberate today. Be on the lookout for more details about other events in the Revolution and… series. Mark Sutch directs this production. Duke Family Performance Hall, times and tickets TBA. Selections from Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege (November 8-12) Originally commissioned by The New Black Fest, selections from Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege is a collection of short plays by Dan O’Brien, Winter Miller, Mona Mansour, Tala Manassah, Dominique Morisseau, Marcus Gardley

and A. Rey Pamatma reflecting on race relations in the United States. Thanks to a Mellon grant supporting Justice, Equality and Community, tickets are free (and required). Sharon Green directs this production. The Barber Theatre, 7:30 p.m., free.

Davidson Community Players

All fall performances take place at Armour Street Theatre, 307 Armour Street, Davidson.

Davidson Community Players’ Connie Company

All fall performances take place at Armour Street Theatre, 307 Armour Street, Davidson.

All Warehouse PAC performances take place at Warehouse PAC, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius. Large Animal Games (September 15-30) This larger-than-life tale of sex, love and self-delusion tracks the escapades of a group of friends old enough to know better in love (but still naïve enough to mess things up anyway) and the man who supplies them with equal parts tough love, lingerie and self-awareness. Large Animal Games takes a comically skewed and razor-sharp look at modern relationships through a mix of bullfights, big game hunting and intimate apparel. Thu-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. $20; seniors/students $15. The Explorers Club (November 3-18) London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president wants to admit a woman and their bartender is terrible. True, this female candidate is brilliant, beautiful and has discovered a legendary Lost City, but the decision to let in a woman could shake the very foundation of the British Empire, and how do you make such a decision without a decent drink? Grab your safety goggles for some very mad science involving deadly cobras, irate Irishmen and the occasional airship. Thu-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. $20; seniors/ students $15.


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Mom’s Gift (November 30-December 17) Mom has been dead for 11 months, however she shows up at a family gathering as a ghost on a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life, she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. The only person who can hear or see Mom is her daughter who is in an anger management program. One by one the family’s secrets are peeled away revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost. Times vary. Adults, $20; seniors, $18; students, $12.

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On Golden Pond (October 5-22) Retired couple, Ethel and Norman Thayer spend every summer at their home on Golden Pond. This year, their adult daughter visits, bringing along her 13-year-old son. The turbulent relationship between father and daughter, the generation gap between young and old, and the difficulties facing a couple in the twilight years of a long marriage, all combine in a play that gives us unique insight into the modern American family. On Golden Pond is a classic American story that is touching, warm and witty. Thu-Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. Adults, $20; seniors, $18; students, $12.

The Lion King Jr. (November 3-12) Join the young lion cub. Simba, as he finds the courage to take his place in the circle of life. The African savannah comes to life on stage with Simba, Rafiki and an unforgettable cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle and back again in this inspiring coming-of-age tale. A vibrant and exciting tale from the great creatives at Disney, The Lion King is a story of love and redemption that nobody should miss. Times vary. $12 all seats.

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Susan Irvin’s office space feels right at home, p. 46 Interior designer Jody Kurtz helped Susan Irvin make a historic landmark her own.


A New Chapter Photography by Bailey Schwartz

by Lori K. Tate


photography by Bailey Schwartz and Brant Waldeck

Susan Irvin wanted the conference room of her office to feel “techy,� yet warm. A mix of contemporary pieces and antiques achieved the look she desired.

Photography by Bailey Schwartz

The Sherrill-Robbins House was built in 1903.

Irvin with Jody Kurtz of Kathryn Lilly Interiors. AUGUST 2017

Photography by Brant Waldeck

Susan and Jody discovered the front door at Crosland Studios in Charlotte.

Susan Irvin brought new life to a historic Cornelius home with the help of Jody Kurtz

ttorney Susan Irvin looked at three Class A office spaces for her practice. While they were all perfectly nice, none of them exuded the feeling that she wanted. Then one day she walked into a two-story house on Zion Avenue in Cornelius, and she knew it was the right fit.


Photography by Bailey Schwartz


Photography by Bailey Schwartz


Photography by Bailey Schwartz

Photography by Bailey Schwartz



It was important to Irvin to maintain the architectural integrity of the house. The staircase and the floors are original to the home.

Stay true to the story

Known as the SherrillRobbins house, the Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse was built in 1903 and was recently deemed an historic landmark by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. “Susan loves for everything to have a story, so you’ll notice there’s really not much that’s new in here,” says Interior Designer Jody Kurtz, owner of Kathryn Lilly Interiors. Irvin hired Kurtz to redesign the master bath of her Davidson home after meeting Kurtz at an open house in Davidson. They worked so well together that Irvin brought

her into the renovation of her office space, along with John Burgess of Davidson’s Burgess Design Studio Architecture and Martin Kerr of Flat Creek Construction, also in Davidson. “Jody really got it in terms of what I was hoping for,” explains Irvin, whose practice focuses on commercial real estate and land use law. “I didn’t want the stuffy old dark law office.” “She [Susan] has the best eye for antiques. She brings me in to add a modern flavor,” adds Kurtz. It was important to Irvin to keep most of the home’s original architectural features in tact. Looking at the home’s molding, bead board, wainscoting and pine

hardwoods, you can see that she was successful. The staircase is one of the best examples of keeping the home true to its roots. When Irvin bought the house, the staircase was painted an unattractive brown. The plan was to paint the railing black and the spindles white. Somehow the painters got confused and painted the entire staircase a bright coral color. A muted version of the coral was slated for the back of a bookcase. “It’s looked like Barbie’s house,” recalls Kurtz. “They stripped it, and we liked it so much natural that we put a clear coat on it and left it. It was a great mistake because

once we saw the beauty of the original staircase, we decided to keep it.” Painted in Sherwin Williams Santorini Blue, the walls of the staircase are peppered with framed black and white photographs of the families who lived in the house previously. Jack Conard Jr, Cornelius’ resident historian, supplied the photos, as his mother’s cousin grew up in the house. The blue wall of the stairwell folds into the grass cloth wallpaper in Juicy Jute Blue by Phillip Jeffries found in the main hall of the first floor. Irvin and Kurtz found a front door for the home while searching at Crosland Studios in Charlotte.

Irvin’s office is painted in Sherwin Williams Tranquil Aqua. One of her paintings hangs above the fireplace.


Though it was covered in dust, Irvin knew it was perfect for the house. The company restored it and set it in the original molding. “The thing I liked about it was the glass,” says Irvin. “It’s from the same Victorian period.” The entryway features Carrera marble tile in Whisper White by Walker Zanger. “It was a splurge,” says Irvin, as she walks to her office, which is painted in Sherwin Williams Tranquil Aqua. Outside the window, a crepe myrtle blooms, adding the perfect touch of pink to the room’s aesthetic. Irvin’s English desk dates back to the late 1800s, early 1900s. She procured it and all of the other antiques throughout her practice from Willow Creek Gallery in Knoxville, Tennessee. On the shelves of her office sit her grandfather’s weathered law books from Texas. Irvin obtained her law degree from the University of Texas School


dwellings The reception area makes guests feel comfortable immediately.

of Law. Across the hall, the conference room effortlessly blends old and new by pairing a hand-hewn table made in America in the early 1900s and a contemporary chandelier from Restoration Hardware. “She wanted it to be more ‘techy’,” says Kurtz, who rounded out the table with black modern office chairs.

A place you love to be


Throughout the conference room and the rest of the home, you’ll find oil paintings by Irvin. Many of them depict scenes from South Carolina’s low country, as two of her three sons went to college in The Palmetto State. Her oldest son, Robert, clerked with her this summer, as he’s entering his last year of law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law. “I’ve always liked painting as a creative outlet. I started


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a long time ago. My uncle [Richard Keahey] is an artist and was a great mentor. My family always encouraged my painting,” says Irvin. “I started doing oil painting seriously in 2009. …Oil is very forgiving, and it also gives you a lot of other possibilities.” Uncovering possibilities is one of Irvin’s character traits, as many people would have deemed this two-story home as simply an old house, especially with its primitive kitchen. Irvin knew that the house had a lot of life left in it and that it could be used in all sorts of ways. Now, new white tile complements the kitchen’s original beadboard, while diminutive stainless steel appliances, including a stove that Irvin insisted upon, offer the amenities of home. Marble countertops crown custom cabinets by Eudy’s Cabinets, while a tabletop made from an old farmhouse table sits on an industrial printing press base. Cognac leather stools from Crate + Barrel punctuate the space with the right amount of warmth. “We love to have staff meetings in the kitchen or out on the patio,” says Irvin, who threw a neighborhood Christmas party at her office last year. “We love having office parties out here on the deck. A couple of times we’ve had a band on the grass.” The house on Zion Avenue is exactly how Irvin imagined it could be. “I wanted a place for my clients to come meet with me, and I wanted a place for my employees to be happy,” says Irvin. “I just felt like this creates a much more inviting atmosphere, and if you’re going to go spend that much time every day in a place, it should be in a place that you love to be.”

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An oil painting by Irvin commands attention in the conference room.


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Dine + Wine Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden takes a fresh look at the art of a burger.



Photography courtesy of The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden


Wine relationships at Choplin’s, p. 56 Beer and yoga, p. 57 The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden elevates casual eating, p. 58 Proper Pesto, p. 60

Dine + Wine

Wine Time

A Novel Approach Wesley Choplin has a unique and interesting relationship with wine by Trevor Burton



here’s a feeling that permeates Choplin’s Restaurant in Cornelius. When you spend time with Wesley Choplin it becomes clear where it all comes from; it’s Choplin himself. He’s easy going, laid back and certainly southern. His personality runs through the style of food — it’s mainly steak and seafood with a southern twist. It runs through the staff, as all of the people you encounter are equally as easy going and laid back. The restaurant definitely embodies the persona of its co-owner and executive chef. And, for sure, you can find that in his wine list — comfortable, interesting and lots of fun. There are, of course, the usual suspects on the list for guests who don’t feel

A genuine mercury head dime is glued to the back of a bottle of wine from Orin Swift Cellars.

like branching out; like I said, comfortable. But then there’s the interesting and lots-of-fun aspect. Choplin is constantly updating his wine list, and he goes about it with a consistent theme. He’s looking for wines that have a story associated with them. It could be a story about an obscure Spanish wine region. It could be a story about a great blended wine from a little known, but excellent, Californian winemaker. His theory is that if a wine’s story intrigues a guest, he or she will want to taste what it’s all about. And, if a story gets told and tasted enough times, the wine makes it onto the permanent list. Wines that have a story — a novel approach. I got to hear Choplin’s latest tale. This was a wine from Orin Swift Cellars, a wine titled, Mercury Head. Orin Swift definitely doesn’t fall into that, “little known, but excellent, Californian winemaker” category. In fact, quite the opposite, he’s pretty famous. The essence of this particular wine’s story is the genuine mercury head dime that is glued to the back of the bottle. Choplin shared with me that, as well as enjoying the wine with their meal, guests mail the dime back to Orin Swift along with a description of what they may have been celebrating and what they thought of his wine.

Orin Swift’s Mercury Head wine promotes storytelling.

All of that gets entered into a journal at the winery. So guests get to enjoy the wine as they sip it and still have fun with it long after the bottle has been emptied. Given Choplin’s interest in wine, I had to ask him about the wine dinners that he offers. His has a more bespoke, customized methodology. He doesn’t come up with a theme for a wine dinner and then invite people to attend. No. Instead, guests come to him with a request for a wine dinner around their own theme — a dinner with wines from the state of Washington, for example. Building on the theme, Choplin and his talented staff come up with food and wine pairings. They have a good time creating a meal and guests have a good time enjoying it.

Nice. Actually I should have known all about the way he handles wine dinners because I recently attended one. A group of wine enthusiasts, me included, asked Choplin to create a dinner around “value wines.” In other words, good wines that are reasonably priced. The Choplin crew certainly hit a home run, as we had a superb meal with some interesting and inexpensive wines. Choplin’s is a relaxing place to enjoy a great meal. For me, it’s the wine list and all that goes into it that excites. What could possibly beat sitting back and enjoying a wine that has a tasty tale to tell. Choplin’s Restaurant 19700 One Norman Drive Cornelius

On Tap

by Mike Savicki


easy flowing with a variety of postures and poses that are both welcoming for novices, yet The “Yoga and a Beer” class created challenging for those by Gotta Yoga and Cornelius Drafthouse with experience. An attracts an diverse mix. even mix of men and women fill the studio, and Gentle’s staff “The Gotta Yoga works with those who might arrive with a studio is a great place to have nearby, bit of fear or apprehension. “There is a fear factor that we try to and we have found that people are more relaxed and feel more comfortable doing work through — some people believe the class there first, then walking over to you have to be flexible to do yoga, but in the Drafthouse for a change of scenery,” reality you do yoga to become flexible so Ashlock says. when someone comes in,” says Gentle, And if you are wondering what types of “we work with them on being safe and beer pairs well with yoga, Casey has an preventing injuries and just put them at answer to that question. ease to have fun.” “All types, there is no right or wrong,” Next, it’s a short walk to Cornelius he says with a smile. “I’ve got some Drafthouse, where the group trades yoga girls who come in and drink nothing but mats for pint glasses and unwinds with stouts, but for the most part I’d suggest liquid refreshment. Ashlock says having something light and easy, a hefeweizen or the two facilities in close proximity makes a pilsner.” for a better overall experience.

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It’s a Friday evening and after a long work week, a diverse and disparate group — including athletes, stay-at-home moms, working moms and dads, 20-somethings, retirees, white collar executives, desk jockeys, and teachers, not to mention husbands and wives on a date night — come together for a two-part event that may, on the surface, seem a bit odd. Started one year ago by Gotta Yoga owner, Clif Gentle, and Cornelius Drafthouse co-owners Casey Ashlock and Wes Lucas, the weekly “Yoga and a Beer” class is becoming increasingly popular. The group gathers first at Gotta Yoga in Cornelius for an all-levels, hour-long yoga class geared to loosen muscles and joints, and release tensions from the week. “It’s a great mixture of people coming together in a way that up to now really hasn’t been all too common,” says Gentle. “You get those who want a beer but don’t mind doing a yoga class and those who love yoga and are looking for a way to socialize a bit more, too.” Describing the class, Gentle says it

Dine + Wine

Nibbles & Bites

A New Take

The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden elevates casual eating by Holly Becker


Photography courtesy of The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden

The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden

STATS Cuisine

Burgers, rotisserie chicken, salads

Price Lunch Dinner






urger connoisseurs, get ready for the tasty goodness of Lake Norman’s newest burger joint. The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden is the second restaurant venture for Michal Bay, who opened Alino Pizzeria in 2015. The new restaurant is located in Merino Mill in Downtown Mooresville, nestled between Alino and Merinos Home Furnishings. Bay purchased the abandoned 42-acre mill site more than six years ago. He knew people working and visiting the furniture store and other businesses onsite needed dining. Named after one of Bay’s favorite cities, The Barcelona aims to elevate burgers the way Alino elevated pizza. “Our goal is to be the best at cleanliness, freshness, serving natural ingredients at the


Open and spacious family-style eatery

Group Friendly Family Friendly The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden is nestled between Alino Pizzeria and Merinos Home Furnishings in Downtown Mooresville.

best possible price in an oldfashioned, family-style place,” says Bay.

Meat lover to vegetarian options Burgers are made fresh daily with grass-fed hormone and antibiotic-free Angus beef from Asheville. “Our focus is on quality, and it starts with the meat,” says Yvonne Fehr, who manages

The Barcelona. She says The Barcelona tested beef to find the perfect selection. Executive Chef Jennifer Brulé helped develop cooking techniques and recipes. From the way the burger is charred to the savory beer cheese and brown gravy sauces, Brulé has created a crowd-pleasing menu for a variety of eaters. The Barcelona Classic and the All-American are more

Going Solo Lunch Meeting Date Night WiFi

PRICE KEY 15 and under


25 and under


50 and under


75 and under


This includes an entree and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Beverage choices are numerous. Diners can choose from an assortment of bottled beers from Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium, and more than 20 local craft beers on tap. In addition to beer, sangria, cider and a variety of wines are available. Fehr believes wine lovers will be intrigued

by the Spanish wines and plans to host wine tastings in the future. After-dinner drinks include Espresso, and vanilla and chocolate milkshakes.

Bells and whistles Like Alino, The Barcelona has spacious seating with European family picnic tables that accommodate approximately 250 people. There’s also outdoor patio seating. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the front of the building provide plentiful natural light, creating an almost atrium-like dining experience. Counter seating by the open kitchen allows diners to view food preparations. A small area inside includes a marketplace where patrons can buy wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olives, roasted peppers, pasta, jarred marina and vodka sauces, charcuterie, cheeses, and other foods used in The Barcelona kitchen to create their own scrumptious meals at home. Meals are also available for take-out and online ordering. The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden 500 S. Main Street Mooresville Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily (earlier if ingredients run out)


The beverage breakdown

Michal Bay


traditional hamburgers, but the menu also features burgers for those with more adventurous taste buds. The Madrid features cheese, caramelized onion, roasted tomato and a spicy pepper sauce. The Swiss is assembled with Swiss cheese, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onion and brown gravy on the side, and the Cabrales is topped with blue cheese, caramelized onion, roasted tomato, lettuce and a house sauce. Burgers are served on a gourmet bun baked fresh in the mornings at Masada Bakery in Atlanta and delivered overnight to The Barcelona. Individually sealed gluten-free vegan buns are available upon request. If you don’t fancy beef, there are a variety of options on the menu to suit your pallet. Rotisserie chicken, made with a dry rub and marinated overnight, is available in whole, half or quarter portions. Spanish chicken soup is a daily feature, too. A vegetarian burger option is made with black beans, quinoa and walnuts. Salad options include the kaleberry salad, a mix of kale, strawberries and blueberries dressed with pineapple vinaigrette.

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Dine + Wine

Do you have a passion for proper pesto? No need to be embarrassed. And just to clarify, we are not talking about the store-bought kind with or without trendy ingredient additions like sundried tomatoes. Instead, we are talking classic and homemade like in the kitchens of Northwest Italy and Southeast France. Fresh basil is the backbone of this sauce, as is a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of aged salty Parmesan cheese with an underlying earthy crunch of pine nuts. The nifty addition of lemon juice lifts the sauce and prevents discoloration. Every pesto is personal, so don’t get too caught up in the measurements, and feel free to slather generously on fish, chicken or use as a dip for roasted veggies and on new potatoes. Go green this August and your friends will be green with envy.



 ill Dahan lives in Cornelius and is the author of J Starting Fresh! Recipes for Life. You can learn more about her at


Ingredients 3 large tablespoons finely grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Photography by Glenn Roberson

Photography courtesy of Jill Dahan

In the Kitchen with Jill Dahan Jill Dahan

2 large tablespoons pine nuts toasted lightly ½ cup (4 ounces) extra virgin oil About 2 large handfuls basil leaves with thick stems removed 1 garlic clove crushed 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions Place olive oil and lemon juice in the bottom of the blender. Add in basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Pulse until just combined and is a sauce consistency but with a little chunkiness still remaining. Can be reserved in fridge for later use or frozen for up to a month.


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at the Lake

a month of things to do at the Lake Date Night


Mingling on the Greens Concert Series (Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings) Enjoy live music at Birkdale Village Friday through Sunday evenings throughout the summer. Fri-Sat 7-9 p.m., Sun 4-6 p.m. Birkdale Village, Huntersville, look for Mingling on the Greens Concert Series on Facebook. Music on Main (August 4) The legendary Band of Oz performs. 6:30 p.m. Free. Free. Town Hall lawn, Mooresville, www.


Davidson Concerts on the Green (August 6, 20 and 27) The Radiojacks perform current hits on August 6. Enjoy a Gospel Sing on August 20, and relive the 1980s with Kid in America on August 27. 6-8 p.m. Free. Davidson Village Green, www.


LangTree Live (Every Thursday) Live bands play every Thursday night throughout the summer. 5-10 p.m. Free. LangTree Lake Norman, 401 Landings Drive, Mooresville,

Photography courtesy of Mooresville Arts

Alive After Five Concert Series & Cruise In (August 31) On the last Thursday evening of the month you’ll find Lincolnton’s Main Street full of music and merriment. On August 31, Blackwater Rhythm & Blues Band performs. Prior to live music, DJ Johnny B gets things moving. Bands play from 7- 10 p.m. Free. On the East side of Court Square in downtown Lincolnton, rain location is

The Third Annual North Carolina Open Plein Air Event presented by Mooresville Arts takes place August 22-27.

the Lincoln County Farmer’s Market. Look for more information on The Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton’s Facebook page.


Cornelius National Night Out (August 1) This free public event promotes community safety and crime prevention. Enjoy an evening filled with family fun, including children’s activities, food, entertainment and more. The police department will also be collecting school supplies for this annual event. Items collected will be distributed to students at Cornelius Elementary, JV Washam Elementary, Bailey Middle and WA Hough High schools. Recommended supplies include paper, pencils, pens, highlighters, notebooks, binders, index cards, tissues, crayons, markers, colored pencils, and backpacks. 6-8 p.m. Free. Smithville Park, 19710 South Ferry Street, Cornelius, Davidson National Night Out (August 1) National Night Out is an annual crime prevention and community-building event sponsored by the Davidson Police Department and North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-citizen partnerships, and neighborhood cohesiveness. 5-7 p.m. Free. Ada Jenkins Center, 212 Gamble Street, Davidson,

Girls’ Night Out

Lake Norman YMCA Sprint Triathlon presented by Ingersoll Rand (August 26) Test your fitness and stamina with this annual event. 7 a.m. $70 entry fee, fee goes up closer to the race. Ingersoll Rand, Davidson,


2017 Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series (July 8) Enjoy Moana in conjunction with National Night Out. Sundown. Free. Smithville Park, 19710 South Ferry Street, Cornelius,


Cornelius Arts Center Various exhibitions. Mon-Thu 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri-Sat 9 a.m.-noon. 19725 Oak Street, Cornelius, “Cotton” Ketchie’s Landmark Galleries Various exhibitions. The work of watercolorist ‘Cotton’ Ketchie. Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 212 North Main Street, Mooresville, 704.664.4122, Depot Art Gallery During the Third Annual North Carolina Open Plein Air Event (August 22-27), artists from North Carolina and surrounding states have the opportunity to paint in nature at chosen locations, including the Langtree Plantation, various marinas on the Lake Norman waterfront and selected historical buildings in Downtown Mooresville. The artists will have from 6 a.m.

Family Fun

Friday, August 25 to 11 a.m. Sunday, August 27 to complete their paintings. At noon on the day of completion, the Mooresville Arts Gallery will have every painting on display for guests to view until they are removed in September. In addition, Artist Harold Fronz will also hold a three-day painting workshop from August 22-24 that anyone is invited to attend at the Mooresville Arts Depot. 103 W. Center Avenue, Mooresville, Foster’s Frame and Art Gallery Summer Gallery Crawl featuring works by local artists Nellie Ashford, Carolyn Digiovanni, Kelvin Harris and Bryan Wilson. Music provided by local jazz artists. (August 18, 6:30-9 p.m.). Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10a.m.-4p.m. 403 N. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, 704.948.1750. Four Corners Framing and Gallery Various exhibitions. Tue-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 148 N. Main Street, Mooresville, 704.662.7154, www. Lake Country Gallery Various exhibitions. Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Exit 36 – Mooresville, between Belk and Kohl’s, 704.664.5022, Sanctuary of Davidson Various exhibitions. 108 S. Main Street, Davidson, www.

Me Time

Tropical Connections Various exhibitions. Tue- Fri 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment. 230 N. Main Street, Mooresville, The Van Every/Smith Galleries Lenin Lives delves into the history of the Russian leader. Panel discussion on Thursday, August 31 at 6 p.m.; opening reception 7-8:30 p.m., Van Every Gallery. (August 17-October 6). Revolution on Display: Soviet Propaganda Posters looks at the history of the Soviet Union. Opening reception on Thursday, August 31, Smith Gallery. (August 17-October 6). Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun noon-4 p.m. Davidson College, The Van Every/Smith Galleries, 315 N. Main Street, Davidson, www.


Carolina Raptor Center Live bird presentations, flight shows, behind-the-scenes tours and more take place at Carolina Raptor Center throughout the month. Visit carolinaraptorcenter. org for more details. Farmer’s Market at The Park – Huntersville (every Tuesday) Fresh produce during the week is the idea here. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 10030 Gilead Road, Huntersville.

Huntersville National Night Out (August 1) Learn about community and youth-based programs through the Huntersville Police Department. 5-8 p.m. Free. Northcross Shopping Center, 9751 Sam Furr Road; Waymer Park (14200 Holbrooks Road); Huntington Green (12000 Tuscaloosa Road), Miss May’s Garden Tea (August 6) Enjoy a tea party honoring Miss May Davidson, benefactress of the Rural Hill Cultural Center. Dress in your tea finery (hats are encouraged, gloves are optional.) 2-4 p.m. $30 for adults, $15 for well-behaved children. Seating is limited. Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville,

Local farmer’s markers are still going strong. Davidson Farmers Market and Huntersville Growers Market are open every Saturday.

The Lake Norman YMCA Sprint Triathlon presented by Ingersoll Rand takes place on August 26. Lunch in the Lot (every Friday) Feast from a food truck in Old Town Cornelius at Oak Street Mill. Tables and chairs are set up at Kadi Fit so you can enjoy your lunch with friends. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Look for Old Town Cornelius on Facebook.

Davidson Farmer’s Market (Every Saturday) 8 a.m.-noon. Next to Town Hall between Main and Jackson streets in downtown Davidson, www. Huntersville Growers Market (Every Saturday) 8 a.m.noon. Huntersville Elementary School, 200 Gilead Road, Huntersville, Lincoln County Farmer’s Market — Denver (Every Saturday) 8 a.m.-noon. Rescue Squad Park, 7835 Galway Lane, Denver,


Davidson College Men’s Soccer The Wildcats begin

Davidson College Women’s Soccer Get ready for another great season of soccer at Davidson. Gardner-Webb (August 18, 7:30 p.m.), Wake Forest (August 20, 2 p.m.), East Carolina (August 25, 7 p.m.). Davidson College,


Psycho Beach Party (Through August 12) The award-winning author of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife gives Gidget beach party epics and Hitchcock psychological suspense thrillers a shotgun marriage. Chicklet Forrest, a teenage tomboy, desperately wants to be part of the surf crowd on Malibu Beach in 1962. One thing getting in her way is her unfortunate tendency toward split personalities. Thu-Sat 8 p.m., Sun (August 6) 2 p.m. $20, seniors/ students $15. Warehouse Performing Arts Center, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius,

Warehouse PAC presents Psycho Beach Party through August 12.


2nd Friday Street Festival (Every second Friday) This event features many of the area’s most talented and innovative artists and craftsmen while showcasing a fabulous lineup of entertainment including local bands, performance groups, live art demonstrations and much more. Area businesses will be out to impress, offering special sales and incentives to event guests, who can also enjoy a variety of food and drinks from local breweries and food. 6-10 p.m. Free. 19725 Oak Street, Cornelius,

Farmer’s Market — The Park (Every Tuesday) 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Park, 10030 Gilead Road, Huntersville.

Photography courtesy of Warehouse PAC

Photography courtesy of Jones Racing Company

another competive season under Head Coach Matt Spear. Campbell (August 19, 6 p.m.), Queens (August 22, 7 p.m.), Presbyterian (August 26, 6 p.m.), Radford (September 1, 7 p.m.). Davidson College,


Lori's Larks

Editor Lori K. Tate visits Donna Downey Studios for a caffeinated culture fix





lways on the lookout for a creative outlet, I recently visited Donna Downey Studios in Huntersville. As is often the case with me, I had driven by the artist’s place on Old Statesville Road in Huntersville many times. And, of course, I was curious about what went on in there, but I was always on my way to somewhere else, so I never stopped. Then the other night some girlfriends told me how much fun they had there and that the studio had great coffee. Good coffee is my weak spot, so off I went. As soon as I walked in, I began mentally kicking myself for not visiting earlier. Studio Coffee, the coffee shop Donna and her husband, Bill, opened about a year ago is at the entrance. So I grabbed a cup and began strolling down the hallway, which also serves as a gallery for Donna’s work. While the mother of three mainly works in oils and acrylics, she also does encaustic pieces (achieved with wax and a blow torch), collage and more.

by Lori K. Tate Photography courtesy Lori K. Tate

The hallway delivers you to a delightful boutique filled with fun gifts (think socks with dirty words weaved on them, art bags, jewelry, clothing and journals). A large part of the boutique is dedicated to serious art supplies. “I don’t carry any art supplies in the studio that I wouldn’t personally recommend,” says Donna, who also carries her own line of stencils and stamps called the Donna Downey Signature Series. “I’m using the good stuff. That’s how I’m getting the result I’m getting.” The rest of the 3,500-squarefoot space is dedicated to studio space. Here you can participate in a Weekly Wednesday Make It Night, where you might create a stenciled tote or an accessory for your home. The space also offers art camps. However, Studio Workshops are the big draw, as Downey brings in artists from all over the world for two- to four-day workshops. When I visited, they were preparing for a visit from Joann Barby, a pastel artist from Australia. “I’m inspired by lots of

artists, and some of them I’ve never met. I just know them from online, and if their work resonates with me, Bill and I will have a conversation with them,” Donna explains. Before entering the art world, Donna, an English major, was an elementary school teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. When she had her children, she worked from home for Creative Keepsakes magazine. Based in Utah, the publication focuses on scrapbooking. “I wrote six books with them [Creative Keepsakes]. …This was early on like in 2000 when the Internet and art being on the Internet was a such a new thing, and blogs were new,” she explains. “I gathered an audience, so when I made the jump from scrapbooking to art I took a lot of that fan base with me.” Donna began painting in 2005 and has since taught art across the globe — Australia, Europe, South Africa and Tokyo to name just a few places. She and Bill opened the studio in a smaller location in Huntersville eight years ago.

Left, artist Donna Downey stands by her work. Above, from left, Donna Downey, Lori K. Tate and Bill Downey.

“I think anybody can do art. It’s a matter of how many hours you practice,” she says. “You have to fail a million times before you find that part that’s successful. Because I was a stay-at-home mom, and I was traveling on the weekends [to teach art], I had that time to work on my practice.” Eventually she and Bill realized that people could come to Donna for lessons. “We had the studio, so instead of her traveling, why not have the artists that inspire her come to the studio,” says Bill. “What’s happened from that is people from all over the world follow me, but [they also follow] the artists that I’m bringing in as well. It’s kind of a beautiful thing that’s happened,” adds Donna. Finishing my coffee, I begin planning my next visit to the studio. I think I’ll start with a Weekly Wednesday Make It Night. As Donna says, it’s all about practice. Donna Downey Studios 501 S. Old Statesville Road Huntersville

Living Well Your local resource for health and wellness services near you Audiology Piedmont HealthCare Megan Mathis-Webb, AuD Susie Riggs, AuD Del L. Hawk, Au.D

140 Gateway Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9638

Cardiology Piedmont HealthCare Gary K. DeWeese, MD, FACC

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Gastroenterology Charlotte Gastroenterology and Hepatology John H. Moore, III, MD Steven A. Josephson, MD Scott A. Brotze, MD Michael W. Ryan, MD

Lake Norman Offices 13808 Professional Center Dr. Huntersville, NC 28078 150 Fairview Rd., Ste. 120 Mooresville, NC 28117 Appointment line 704-377-0246 Locations also in Charlotte, Ballantyne, SouthPark & Matthews

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Neurology Piedmont HealthCare Dharmen S. Shah, MD

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Orthopaedic Surgery

Piedmont HealthCare Vivek Trivedi, MD Tiedre Palmer, FNP-C

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359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1838

PULMONOLOGY Piedmont HealthCare Enrique Ordaz MD Jose Perez MD Ahmed Elnaggar, MD

125 Days Inn Drive, Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-838-8240

Rheumatology Piedmont HealthCare Sean M. Fahey, MD Dijana Christianson, DO

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-1001

Lake Norman Currents August 2017  

A lifestyle magazine celebrating the Lake Norman Area.

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