When Michael Knox, 40, moved to Kannapolis in 2012, he was disappointed to find that there was no arts council in place.
Coming from Asheville, a city known for its street festivals and active arts culture, he missed the festivals and the interaction with local artists.
“I was … meeting all these cool artists and performers who were unaware of each other,” said Knox.
So later in that same year, Knox founded Kannapolis Arts with Mark Sink, a longtime friend and arts supporter. The group’s mission is to organize events for artists to interact within the community.
Kannapolis Arts’ first organized event was the Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival, which is now held several times a year.
“I created the … festival and made it free for the artists and performers to set up in order to create a venue for all of these creative people to meet,” Knox said.
Knox said there are many talented artists in the area, and he wants them to share their work while being able to collaborate.
This year will be the third season of the festivals. Each event draws approximately 100 artists/performers to exhibit their works along West Avenue. The festivals also offer a wide range of visual and performing arts, and have grown from four to five per year.
This year, the group is launching the Kannapolis Arts Showcase, which held its first gathering on Feb. 13 to offer local artists another venue to enjoy fellowship while exhibiting their art.
Displaying the work of five to 10 artists, the showcases will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second Friday of each month at Sunshine’s Asian Cuisine, 215 West A St. in Kannapolis.
“The evolution of Kannapolis Arts has really grown over the past few years,” said Knox. “We used to have just the festivals, but this year that changed to adding the smaller events. That way, we have a monthly presence.”
Knox’s goal is to create a more active arts community by including diverse venues and different cultures, as well as offering more showcases.
In late 2014, Kannapolis Arts partnered with Downtown Kannapolis Inc. Knox said the partnership would help Kannapolis Arts grow by giving the organization greater access to the community and utilize its new nonprofit status as a part of Downtown Kannapolis.
Eric Dearmon, president of Downtown Kannapolis Inc., attended the Feb. 13 showcase to support the newly formed allegiance.
“When it comes to the arts, Michael has done more for downtown Kannapolis in the last two years than has been done in the last two decades,” Dearmon said.
“Kannapolis has just kind of ignored the arts process,” he said “ … With Pillowtex closing down and everything being torn down and then the start of the new campus, that’s been everybody’s focus.
“Michael has brought the arts back into focus in downtown Kannapolis.”
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
The next Kannapolis Arts Showcase will be 7-10 p.m. on March 13 at Sunshine’s Asian Cuisine in Kannapolis. To exhibit your work, email Michael Knox at email@example.com. The only criteria is that all content be family-friendly. The next Kannapolis Arts/Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival will be from noon to 4 p.m. April 25.
Other upcoming events include Kannapolis Arts Showcase, with cookout and vinyl spin, from 7-10 pm. on March 28 at Subculture City, 2601 S. Cannon Blvd.; and Showcase and potluck dinner from 3 to 7 p.m. April 19 at 1.2.7. Family Worship Center, 127 Cabarrus Ave. W. in Concord.