The Staff of the FOA

Kristi Pulliam, Executive/Artistic Director
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Career

Kristi  began her career at the FOA in 2007 when she was hired as Director of Community Development, and her work in that capacity prepared her well to lead the organization six years later. For eight years now, she has been responsible for creating the annual marketing plan, casting the organization’s vision to various stakeholder groups, managing the FOA’s brand, recruiting sponsors and fundraising, overseeing numerous public events, supervising all operations and reporting progress to the board.  Kristi led the Foundation of Arts through the 2020-2021 pandemic crisis, never closing in the midst of public pressure but instead finding creative ways to serve the community through the arts with the approval of the government for their safety protocols.  The FOA never stopped growing in various ways throughout the crisis.

Her previous experience was in academia, where she spent years as a high school teacher, then an instructor at Crowley’s Ridge College—a small Christian liberal arts institution—and at Arkansas State University. She served on the lead committee at Crowley’s Ridge College that secured the College’s first term of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.  Her passion for communications, community, and education has helped the FOA expand its important “turn no child away if at all possible” outreach component, grow enrollment and increase theatrical productions, ticket sales and sponsorships. Under her leadership, the FOA doubled their volunteers, peaked patronage and financial reserves.  In addition, her vision-casting began the myriad event partnerships the FOA participates in, including Oasis Arts and Eats Fest, as well as First Fridays at the Forum concert series.  

In addition to her planning and leadership skill sets, she is an accomplished communicator – writing often for the FOA, personally, and for grants.  She often speaks publicly on behalf of the FOA and about what creative success means for individuals and families.  She directs several successful stage productions each year, harkening to her first love, “theatre-done-well”, a phrase she coined to describe a specific process of the collaborative art form.  Her vision to create a nurturing atmosphere while aspiring for creative excellence succeeds because of the way she empowers other leaders under her tutelage at the FOA.

Civic & Volunteer Service

Her service interests are wide-ranging. She currently serves on the Arkansas Arts Council Advisory Board, and Executive Council appointed by Governor Hutchinson.  She has served as the Entertainment Committee Chair for the Susan G. Komen NEA Race for the Cure, and chair of the Holiday Tour of Homes for the Circle of Friends (benefiting Arkansas Children’s Hospital).

She sits on the board of the Downtown Jonesboro Alliance and serves as a consultant to the Jonesboro Auditorium Commission. She was a leader in the Children’s Worship Ministry at her church, where she visited inmates regularly in the Jail Ministry.

Kristi holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theatre from Arkansas State University, and remains an active Red Wolves fan.  She is a licensed Creative Success Coach and Executive Communication Coach, and she is internationally certified in both areas, working with clients from around the world to help them find success.

Kristi is married to Kevin Pulliam and is the mother of six pretty awesome children ranging in age from 16 to 24.


Meridith Pierce, Grants/Marketing
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Meridith joined the FOA staff in 2016, though she has been around as a volunteer since 2010. A former 3rd grade teacher with Nettleton Public Schools, she holds a masters in Early Childhood Education Theory and Practice. She also owns Lolly Gourmet Popsicles in downtown, Jonesboro.  She is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 7. Aside from her love of theatre, she enjoys cooking, travelling, and helping to make a positive impact on our community through the arts.


JR Lawrence, Technical and Facilities Director
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J.R. has been volunteering with his family since 2011 and joined the staff in early 2018. JR’s primary role at the FOA is set design and building, but you might also see him filming promo videos here problem solving all things  tech! He holds a degree in Radio & Television Production from Arkansas State University. With over a decade of experience in telling stories through photography, video, and design, he’s excited to share this passion with the community at the Foundation of Arts. In his spare time he enjoys working outside in the garden and tending to the family’s chickens.

Morgan Pruitt, Office Manager
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Morgan joined the FOA family in June 2020. That’s right! She started a new job in a new town in the middle of worldwide chaos! Morgan grew up with community and school theatre pumping through her veins in Searcy, AR. That is where she graduated from Harding University to receive a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences. If she isn’t singing along to whichever musical soundtrack is blasting through the Forum lobby, you might find her doing the Hokey Pokey with a Stepping Stones class or hiding away in her office awaiting to sell you tickets to our next show!

 


Mikel Wewers, Development/Operations
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Born in Kingsport TN and raised in Jonesboro AR, Mikel has 20 years of progressive experience in management Production, Quality, Safety, and Cost Control for large distribution and manufacturing centers in the Arkansas area. He is also a musician, vocalist, and visual artist. When asked about his passions, he says “I love everything art and the power it gives to vent, influence and endless ways of expressing oneself, forever expanding ones growth. We are all Artists.”


Emily Trapp Jenkins, Associate Artistic Programs Director
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A native of Portland, Oregon, Emily Jenkins is a pianist that specializes in musical theatre, art song, and opera while regularly collaborating with professional singers and ensembles around the midwest and south. She owns and operates Jenkins Piano Studio and frequently performs as a worship accompanist/soloist at area churches. She holds a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and a Bachelors of Arts degree from Goshen College (Goshen, IN). In her spare time, she loves to cook, listen to true crime podcasts, and take walks with her dog, Lucy.

Kelly Kelley, Bookkeeper
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Kelly is a graduate of Arkansas State University where she received B.S. in Accounting. She also holds a license in I.P.A. and navigates people through the new federal and state insurance laws.

 

 


Ian Buchanan, Customer Service Associate
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Cody Duncan, Tech Assistant
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