Abi Mason; Ballet, Jazz
Abi has been involved at the FOA since 2004. She started ballet at the age of 5 and has since studied various forms of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical. She has participated in several productions at the FOA as well. In addition to Clara in The Nutcracker Ballet and Alice in Alice in Wonderland the Ballet, she has also portrayed roles in musical productions such as Annie, Lès Miserables, Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, White Christmas, and Mamma Mia. She served as choreographer and Assistant Director for A Christmas Story (2018) and The Nutcracker Ballet (2019). She has also worked as a choreographer/teacher, costumer, and stage manager for the Young Artist Theatre summer camps over the past few years.
Abi has taken and taught summer dance intensives at the FOA as well as attended master classes taught by instructors from Ballet Chicago and UO school of dance. As a graduate of the FOA T.A.P program, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and love of dance with others. She is a licensed Cosmetologist and works as a hair stylist here in Jonesboro and current ASUN student. Abi loves the theatre atmosphere and hopes to one day be a hair and makeup artist for theatre.
Annie Clark-Roberts; 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
Amber Ferguson is a 2008 honors Graduate from Arkansas State University where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Radiological Science in Diagnostic Medical Diagnostic Sonography. She has been employed in the ultrasound field for over 10 years. She began her dancing career at the age of 4 at Christie McNeil dance studio. She was trained and competed in many competitions over the years under the professional dance teachers Christie McNeil and Chali Jennings. Past cometition performances include Walt Disney’s Epcot Center, winning national Show Stoppers in San Antonio TX as well as Applause Competition in Memphis, TN. She has also attended multiple dance camps and courses in order to enhance and perfect her dancing talents. Amber was on the first ever dance team squads for Nettleton Junior High School and Nettleton High School where she competed and won in regional and state competitions. She was also a member of the Arkansas State University Red Wolf dance team in 2002. She has always had a strong passion and will to dance and continue to be a part of the dancing profession even years after she was no longer a student herself. In 2002 she started as a teacher at the Foundation of Arts. Over the past 10 years, she has had her hand in the planning and choreography of numerous performances including recitals, Footloose, and The Sound of Music. Some of her students recently had the opportunity to perform at Epicot. Amber has also been dance team technique teacher for over 5 years and is also currently teaching technique in Tap, Jazz, Hip hop, Pom, Kick line, and Lyrical. She hopes to inspire her students with the same love for dance and challenge them to learn new skills!
Brandon Bishop; Tap
Brandon is a Jonesboro native and 10 year veteran of the Foundation of Arts. Credits include Les Miserables, Titanic, Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, The Nutcracker Ballet, and Jesus Christ Superstar, just to name a few. He also has extensive competitive All Star cheer and dance training and was a UALR Trojan cheerleader from 2008-2009. When he isn’t singing, tumbling, or dancing across the stage, you can find him being assisting patrons, volunteers, and staff at the FOA.
Damon Wright; Musical Theatre Performance, Singing for Actors
After 30 years experience playing trumpet, Dr. Damon Wright shifted his artistic focus to vocal, piano, and character acting. He has appeared in Anything Goes; Darling, You Slay Me; Grease; Les Miserable; Peter Pan; The Producers; and The FOA Music Show. He continues to study stage acting and vocal performance. “I love to learn, I love to teach, and I love to perform”.
David 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.
Elea 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; 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. He also teaches Chinese and English classes online, playing the piano and singing songs during every lesson.
Jennifer has been involved at the Foundation of Arts for over 15 years. She started taking ballet classes when she was 6 and hasn’t been able to stop. She has been in countless FOA productions of The Nutcracker as well as 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 and knowledge of dancing with others and is honored to teach ballet here at the FOA.
Jessica Maddox; Lyrical, Ballet
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 King; Ballet
LeeAnn King is a Jonesboro native and long time student, teacher, choreographer and director with The Foundation of Arts. Her early ballet training began under the instruction of Catherine Kyle and Dr. Elizabeth Sales. Her training continued under Heather Intres and Stacey Alley, studying ballet, pointe’ and jazz. LeeAnn’s training outside of Jonesboro includes two workshops with Ballet Magnificat! And a summer at the Cecchetti International Summer School in Hope, Michigan. She also studied under Daniel Duell of The New York City Ballet and Patricia Blair, during a two month intensive with Ballet Chicago.There she received and invitation to study in their pre-professional company, but returned to Jonesboro to continue teaching. LeeAnn is a graduate of the Teacher’s Assistant Program through the Foundation of Arts under the guidance of Heather Intres. She has been teaching at the FOA for 17 years, leading classes in ballet, pointe’, lyrical, choreography and pointe’. She has recently received her certification in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) under the instruction of Marie Walton-Mahoh, the programs developer and lead instructor. Her performance credits include The Nutcraker Ballet, Rodeo, George Balanchine’s Serenade and many more original works by several U.S. choreographers. Director and choreographer credits include The Nutcracker Ballet, Mary Poppins, the Ballet, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, the Ballet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Ballet, Exodus, FAME, Hairspray and Coppelia.
Maranda Nichols; Musical Theatre Performance, Stepping Stones Tap
Megan 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 graduate of Arkansas State University, where she obtained both her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees, and is currently working to complete her certification as a Lactation Specialist. 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 for the past 7 years. 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.
Anna Kate Horton; Theatre
Ann Kate is a freshman at Arkansas State University who works at Miracle Kids when shes not participating in an FOA class or production. For the past 3 years, shes been a student in MTP 4, beginning tap, and contemporary choreography class. As a recent graduate of the Teachers Assistant Program in the Arts Center, she is so excited to meet new students and share her love of theater!
Sametta Parker-Jackson; 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.
Lisa Maritch; Ballet
Lisa Maritch is originally from Clearwater, Florida. She started ballet at age 4. She studied with Janet East Beyer who was a graduate of Julliard and performed in her Christian Dance company “In His Image.” She moved to Jonesboro in 1992 and in 1998 formed her own 501c3 Christian Dance company “In His Steps.” Formerly an FOA instructor (2005-2007), left to raise her family but is so glad to be back this year!
Hannah Housley; Ballet
Penny Jo Pausch; Art
Penny Jo Pausch is a 2015 graduate of Arkansas State University where she earned her BFA with an emphasis in Studio Painting. She is an award winning artist with several of her works placed around the world. Pausch has an Etsy shop on line called PjCreates where she sells her artwork and other creations she makes in her home based studio. In her studio, she does custom artwork such as landscapes and people/pet portraits and also teaches private art students. She loves to take photos, write, garden, cook, sew and anything else creative she can find! Because she is a teacher at heart and desires to constantly experiment and learn new things, her art has great variety of subject matter and mediums. She has illustrated two children’s books for an author and has written and illustrated many short stories, poems, and a children’s book of her own. Her plans are to publish her children’s book in audio and written form in the near future when life slows down enough to yield some time.
Emily Allen; Photography
Emily Allen has a master’s degree in photojournalism from Boston University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She has worked in Boston for several newspapers and covered various events including professional sports, breaking news, and cultural entertainment. She’s photographed families, weddings, and celebrations. She enjoys black & white photography as well as color. She shoots with a digital camera but is nostalgic for her days in the dark room developing film. This is her second year teaching photography at the FOA, and she is continually impressed with the creativity of her students. She has lived in Jonesboro for over a decade, and she is the mother to three children, which have become her favorite subjects.
Michelle Edwards; Ballet
A native of Chicago, Michelle Edwards began her dance training at the age of three. During elementary and high school, she studied with Joyce Harley and at Stone-Camryn School of Ballet. She was a member of Orchesis Modern Dance Club and was selected to perform at the Illinois State Dance Festival as a teenager. She continued her education in Texas and earned a B.S. in Social Work from Abilene Christian University. Active in the university’s theatre department, Michelle regularly performed in musicals such as West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. While in Texas she became a contracted member of Abilene Metropolitan Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Marj Baucum (Ballet Russe, National Ballet Arts). During her tenure with the company she was the Principal Dancer for four years, Co-Assistant Artistic Director for three years and a recipient of the annual Senior Achievement Award. Later, she started her own Christian ballet company, Deo Gloria, which ministered across the Southwest. After leaving Texas, she danced, taught and choreographed extensively with Kingdom Dance, a Christian dance company out of Memphis that ministered in the Mid-South and across the country. Michelle has danced internationally in Germany, Mexico and Zambia (by invitation from Zambia’s Vice President). She still enjoys dancing, choreographing and teaching at The Foundation of Arts. Her other interests include painting, decorating and gardening but especially quality time with her husband Gary and daughter Cacie.
Kilee Erickson; Stepping Stones Ballet