Cary Arts Center, 2011 just before opening (photo by Brent Miller, courtesy of Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel)

The current building is the third school building on this site. It is the former Cary Academy, former Cary High School and former Cary Elementary School. It recently became the Cary Arts Center. The brick posts in front of the school pre-date the current building; they were constructed along with the previous school on this site.

Construction of new flytower, 2010 (photo by Brent Miller, courtesy of Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel)The visual focal point of the district, and perhaps the entire downtown, the Neoclassical Revival former high school building sits on a slight hill overlooking downtown Cary at the southern end of S. Academy. Built in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration for $132,000, the two-story, red-brick building is the last of a succession of school buildings that were located on this same site, its prominent location clearly illustrating the significant role of education in Cary’s history.

Founded in 1907 after the General Assembly passed legislation creating a system of public high schools in NC, Cary High School was the first public high school in Wake County – and believed to be the first in the state under the 1907 law. T

In 2006, the school was purchased by the Town of Cary for use as a cultural and performing arts center. In 2008, work  began on the conversion to an arts center, which now anchors the cultural arts district in the Heart of Cary. Design work proceeded into 2009. In 2010, construction work was proceeding apace on the conversion to the Cary Community Arts Center. In 2011, the renovation was completed. After much debate and much public input, the Cary Town Council officially christened the newly repurposed building “Cary Arts Center”. Town Staff began moving into the building in May 2011; it opened to the public in July 2011, with a formal re-dedication in August 2011.

Resident artists include the Concert Singers of Cary and the Cary Players.


100 Dry Ave.

Cary, NC 27511

Cary Arts Center


(Former) Cary High School, ca. 2006 (photo courtesy Town of Cary)2010 facade renovation. Non-original Doric columns removed prior to installation of new Ionic columns that more closely resemble the originals (photo by Brent Miller, courtesy of Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel)