Meet Our Instructors

abi-mason-head-shotAbi Mason; Ballet

Abi Mason has been involved at the FOA since 2004, she started ballet at the age of 5 and has since then taken several forms of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical, as well as being in several productions at the FOA. She has been Clara and the in The Nutcracker Ballet, she played Alice in Alice in Wonderland the Ballet, as well as roles in musical productions such as Annie, Lès Miserables, Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, and White Christmas.

Abi has taken dance intensives at the FOA as well as master classes from instructors from Ballet Chicago and UO school of dance. Abi has graduated from the T.A.P. program at the FOA and enjoys sharing her knowledge and love of dance with others. Abi loves the theatre atmosphere and hopes to one day be a hair and makeup artist for theatre.


Annie Clark; Theatre

Annie Clark Roberts is a graduate of Arkansas State University, holding a B.A. in Theatre and a minor in Interdisciplinary Family Studies. She joined the FOA teaching staff in the summer of 2012.  Annie enjoys teaching students of all ages as part of the FOA’s educational programming, and also teaching for the L.E.A.P. outreach program for adults with special-needs. She has always been passionate about exploring beyond just the performance aspect of Drama, and how the process as a whole can grow an individual and/or group. She has made it her mission to “provide a safe and encouraging learning environment where students can express themselves creatively, improve self-confidence, learn skills that can apply to their daily lives, and gain a general appreciation for the arts and how they can impact the world around us.”


Amber Ferguson; Tap, Jazz


Bethany Cannon-Granberg; Art

After spending much of her childhood traveling all over, Bethany attended Harding University and lived in Searcy as a freelance artist and graphic designer while giving private and group art lessons. She later earned her Masters of Arts in Education and taught middle school and high school art for two years before moving to Jonesboro in the summer of 2017. Now she is on staff at FOA as the Art Specialist and PR and Marketing assistant, in addition to teaching art classes to children and adults. Besides teaching and working at the FOA Bethany continues to work as a professional artist, selling paintings- specializing in watercolor. In her spare time, she enjoys culinary adventures, being outside, and adventuring with her new husband and fellow artist, Joshua Granberg. She loves imparting her knowledge of art and joy in creating. View samples of her work on her personal artist website.

 


557023_10150957361168525_716943076_nChelsea Hays; Art

Chelsea is graduate student at Arkansas State University. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from A-State in Graphic Communication.  Her course in school included graphic design and photography. She has won many awards for her photography and was able to present some of her work at the Delta Flix Multimedia and Film festival. She enjoys all kinds of photography as long as it can tell a story. Her current work includes nature, artist portraits and stage photography.  She had the privilege of photographing productions at the A-state theatre and also Celtic Woman and The Avett Brothers when they put on concerts at The Convo. She also enjoys experimenting in graphic design. Her hobbies include dancing, acting, musical theatre, acrobatic yoga and reading comic books. She took dance classes up until she was in middle school. She is now pursuing them again by taking classes in Ballet and tap at the FOA. Her current roles have been Mary in Little Town of Bethlehem and party woman in The Nutcracker. Click the following links to contact Chelsea or view her portfolio.


ChiYoung Song; Instrumental

Winner of the coveted Seoul-Asia International Music Competition amongst other major international competitions, Chi Young first came to the attention of music critics at the age of sixteen while competing at the Menuhin International Violin Competition.  His successful performance of Brahms’ Violin Concerto in Berlin, Germany led to recital performances in  major concert halls in France, England, and Denmark.
As a devoted orchestral player, Chi Young has held positions with the Boston Chamber Orchestra, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and has worked with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Marek Janowski. In chamber music, he has collaborated with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris.

Chi Young received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance from The Boston Conservatory under the tutelage of world renowned Joseph Silverstein and Ronan Lefkowitz.  He currently holds the position of Coordinator of Strings/Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola at Arkansas State University.

 


damon-wrightDamon Wright; Musical Theatre Performance

After 30 years experience playing trumpet, Dr. Damon Wright shifted his artistic focus to vocal, piano, and character acting. He has recently appeared in Anything GoesDarling, You Slay MeGrease; and Les Miserable. He is currently taking tap class and continues to study stage acting and vocal performance. “I love to learn, I love to teach, and I love to perform”.


david-masonDavid Mason; Art

David Mason is a native of Northeast Arkansas. He has been drawing, painting, experimenting with photography, or dabbling with clay for most of his life. He graduated from Williams Baptist College with a degree in Art Education in 1998. He has been teaching students of all ages how to unleash their inner artists ever since. He’s been married to his lovely wife for almost as long as he’s been teaching and stays busy with three active boys.


Josh Granberg; Art

Josh spent his childhood on the mission field in Kenya, East Africa. During adolescence he lived in Portland, Oregon. Josh came to Searcy, Arkansas for college at Harding University where he got two Bachelor’s degrees in art. Following undergraduate work Josh studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Sweden and Italy for four years. Such a diverse background informs his appreciation of cultures and humanity- an appreciation that can be seen in his artwork. He now brings incredible knowledge and skill into his teaching of classical painting at the FOA and into his art career as he continues to paint professionally. About his life currently Joshua states: “The present time is the author of the future and I now stand on that precipice and passionately read what the Great Author and I are composing together, a composition that will ring for eternity.”  You can view his artwork at:    www.joshuagranberg.com


elea-pulliamElea Pulliam; Acting, Musical Theatre, Tap

Elea Pulliam has been involved with the Foundation of Arts since 2006, when she participated as a chorus member in her first production Pinocchio.  Among her favorite roles since then include Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia, Zaneeta in the Music Man, Dana in Camp Rock, Mayella in To Kill A Mockingbird, Shulie in Schoolhouse Rock, Live!, Jan in Grease, and Emily in Our Town.  She joined the FOA as a drama/musical theatre instructor in the fall of 2012.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and participating in community theatre productions.


james-faulkner

James Faulkner; Piano Accompaniment

James has been a pianist for over 40 years.  He has performed for three US presidents.  He currently sings in the New Beginning Gospel Trio and does piano and vocals at various country clubs and events in Jonesboro.  He has been teaching piano accompaniment for over 15 years.  One of his students recently won the NEA District Fair talent show and made it to the finals in Little Rock.


 Jennifer Webb; Ballet

Jennifer has been involved at the Foundation of Arts for almost 14 years. She started taking ballet classes when she was 6 and hasn’t been able to stop. She has been in The Forum’s production of The Nutcracker every year that she has been dancing except one. She has also been in numerous other ballets and plays at the Forum Theatre over the years. Jennifer is currently an ASU student majoring in education. Jennifer loves sharing her love of dancing with others and is so excited that she now gets to teach ballet here at the FOA. 


jessica-maddoxJessica Maddox; Lyrical, Ballet

Jessica is a native of Carlisle, Arkansas and has been dancing for almost 20 years. She started her training at Lana’s Dance Studio in Lonoke, Arkansas, where she took classes in ballet, tap, lyrical, and jazz. She studied ballet under Marla Edwards, former headmistress at Ballet Arkansas. She competed in solo and group dance competitions for 10 years, including Showbiz, Talent on Parade, Nexstar, and Spotlight, consistently placing in the Top 10. She attended The PULSE dance convention twice, studying under choreographers featured on So You Think You Can Dance. During her freshman year in college, Jessica danced with an on-campus group called “A Touch of Class” and choreographed an original routine for the Spring showcase. She became involved with the Foundation of Arts the next 3 years, performing in The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. Jessica graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from ASU Jonesboro in August 2015. She is continuing her studies to become a physical therapist for dancers. In her spare time she enjoys baking, reading classic literature, and thrift shopping.


Kaitlyn Bass; Ballet, Pointe

Kaitlyn Bass was first introduced to the world of ballet at the age of four under the direction of Jane Anderson at Ballet Regent South in Jacksonville, FL. Moving to Kingsport, TN, her dance education continued at Kingsport Ballet, where her Vaganova training began with Valeria Sinyavskaya at age 12. The world of classical ballet was shown to Kaitlyn through performance and study, and under the artistic direction of Ms.Valeria, Kaitlyn performed both soloist and corps de ballet roles in classics such as “The Nutcracker,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” and “Giselle.” She has trained with the Tennessee Association of Dance, Sarasota Ballet, and Bossov Ballet, as well as with numerous guest teachers from around the world. She accepted a scholarship from Bossov Ballet, and was given the opportunity to travel to the St.Petersburg International Dance Open in Russia. Kaitlyn continued to further her dance education at the University of Memphis. While studying at the university, Kaitlyn participated in faculty and student showcases as both a dancer and choreographer. One of her proudest moments was watching one of her pieces performed on the stage of the Rose Theater, knowing her hard work and the work of her dancers would not go unnoticed. Since graduating, Kaitlyn has continued to study and teach dance at studios within the Greater Memphis Area. She has also begun studying ballroom dance to further her repertoire of dance knowledge, with hopes of competing on the professional level. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Joachim, who comes from Germany and works as a supply chain manager in Mississippi, and their four fur-kids.


Kristi Pulliam; Yoga

Kristi holds an M.A. in Communication/Theatre and a B.S.E. in Theatre/Speech Communication. She taught in the Paragould School District and at Arkansas State University and Crowley’s Ridge College for a total of 12 years. After teaching and directing at the FOA for eight years, Kristi joined the staff full time in 2008 as the Community Development Director, and then added to her role at The FOA, as the Artistic Director and eventually Executive Director.  Kristi is currently training for her yoga certification, and we are thrilled she is gracing the Arts Center with this skill she is  crafting.


leeann-kingLeeAnn King; Ballet

LeeAnn is a graduate of Jonesboro High School and has been dancing for 17 years.  Her dance training began here in Jonesboro under the instruction of Katherine Kyle.  Later, she studied under Heather Intres, Dr. Elizabeth Sales, and Stacey Alley at the Foundation of Arts.  Training outside of Jonesboro includes two workshops in Mississippi with Ballet Magnificat!, and a summer at the Cecchetti International Summer School in Hope, Michigan.  The most recent training was a two month intensive studying under Daniel Duell of the New York City Ballet, and Patricia Blair at Ballet Chicago.  LeeAnn has also completed the Teacher’s Assistant Program through the Foundation of Arts, under the guidance of Heather Intres.  After completing the program, she went on to teach for the Foundation of Arts for 3 years.  LeeAnn has taught several different styles including lyrical, contemporary ballet, pointe, and dance team technique.  She has served as choreographer for The Nutcracker and Spring Showcase with the Foundation.  During 2008 and 2009, LeeAnn served as Assistant Director for the Nutcracker Ballet, and director for 2010-2012 and 2014.  She has served as choreographer for Jonesboro High School’s FAME and Hairspray, and directed and choreographed 3 Spring Recitals for the Jonesboro Studio of Dance.  In 2012, LeeAnn held the position as Dance Instructor for Jonesboro’s Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School.  LeeAnn is currently the Education Programs Manager and Head Ballet Instructor for the Foundation of Arts.


maranda-nicholsMaranda Nichols; Musical Theatre Performance


Megan DacusMegan Dacus; Ballet
Megan is a native of Jonesboro and has always had a love for the arts. She began her training in classical ballet at the age of seven and could often be found at the piano or with paintbrush in hand. She is passionate about exploring new places, fitness, good books and great food, as well
as every opportunity to experience or share her love for the arts. Megan is a recent graduate of Arkansas State University, where she obtained both her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees. The Foundation of Arts has been a part of Megan’s life for over 15 years now including taking classes, participating in various productions, and teaching. Her dance training includes, studying classical ballet and dancing en pointe through her completion of high school. Megan studied at the Nashville Ballet Company, as well as numerous other intensives and workshops. Throughout her time in high school and college, Megan has taught dance and conditioning classes at the FOA. In addition, she has equally enjoyed working behind the curtain with the production of the
annual Nutcracker Ballet, working as a choreographer, set design team, Stage Manager, and Assistant Director.


Mollie PotgieterMollie Parker Potgieter; Ballet, Tap, Jazz

Dance has been a part of Mollie Parker Potgieter’s life since she first started dancing at the age of three. Mollie joined the Foundation of Arts family 17 years ago when she began taking ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern dance, and tap classes. In 2007, she started training en pointe under Heather Intres and completed the Teacher’s Assistant Program. While dancing, her favorite roles were performing as the first Clara in The Nutcracker to dance en pointe at the Foundation of Arts and performing as Odile in Swan Lake. Mollie has been teaching at the Foundation of Arts for seven years, has choreographed for the Spring Showcase, and in 2016 was the Assistant Director and Choreographer for The Nutcracker.  In May of 2015, she graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations. Outside of the FOA, Mollie is the Community Outreach Coordinator for The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

 


sametta-jackson-parkerSametta Jackson-Parker; Theatre

Sametta Jackson-Parker has lived in the Jonesboro area since 2012. Before moving to Arkansas with her family, she taught secondary English in Alabama’s public schools for over ten years. During that tenure, Parker taught Theatre Arts and Speech at Sidney Lanier High School, where she was also artistic director of the school’s first touring dance ensemble, Poetry in Motion.

Her love of fine arts began during childhood through music, theatre and photography. She grew up performing in various school, church and community dramas. In high school, she was a member of the International Thespian Society Troupe 1587 in Anchorage, Alaska, where she earned Honor Thespian status and competed at state level. While attending Tuskegee University, Parker was a member of the Tuskegee Little Theatre where she worked as assistant director and studied under actress Tonea Stewart.

In addition to performing arts, Parker is a self-taught artist. She began drawing and etching simple sketches in college and eventually began creating portraits and other fine art designs. She has previously shown items at the Craighead Library in Jonesboro and was a featured artist of the Foundation in April 2016. In 2014, after retiring from teaching to become a full-time caregiver for her terminally ill husband, Sametta began to make jewelry. She is now the owner/artist of Studio SammieJay, where she creates unique custom orders for her clients.

Parker is also a published author of three novels, two plays, and a collection of poetry under her pen-name, S.J. Parker. She is currently working on a project depicting African and African-American folktales, and the personal narratives of former slaves in Arkansas.

She is widowed and the mother of two children.


IMG_0195Savannah Strickland; Ballet

Savannah Strickland is a senior Strategic Communications/Public Relations and Social Media Management major and Spanish minor at Arkansas State. She will begin working on her Master’s degree in August of 2018. She has been a ballet instructor at The Foundation of Arts since August of 2007, and was in The Nutcracker Ballet from 2001-2013. She has been a choreographer for The Nutcracker Ballet for the past two years. She attended a six-week dance intensive at Ballet Chicago during the summers of 2010 and 2011. A few of her favorite dance roles have been the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty the Ballet and the Angel Queen and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker Ballet. In her free time, Savannah enjoys hanging out with her friends, going to church, working out, and volunteering with her sorority sisters. 


Season-PankeySeason Pankey; Twirling

Hi!  My name is Season and I LOVE TO TWIRL!  I fell into the sport of baton twirling in the eighth grade and it has held a place in my heart ever since.  I cannot wait to share my passion of twirling with you and see you all grow into twirling stars!