AAAC - Katie Cornell

Katie Cornell

Executive Director

Bringing people together through the arts is Katie’s passion, and that is just what she tries to do as the Executive Director of the Asheville Area Arts Council. Along with AAAC’s dedicated staff and board, she works to amplify what is happening in Buncombe County’s vibrant arts communities, as well as to ensure the continued sustainability and growth of the areas richly diverse cultural sector. Katie has more than 18 years of experience working in the Asheville arts sector and holds a Master’s degree in Arts Leadership & Cultural Management from Colorado State University and a BA in Drama from UNC Asheville. She also currently serves as the Chair of the City of Asheville’s Public Art & Cultural Commission, on the board of ArtSpace Charter School, and on the Buncombe County School Arts Advisory Council. .


Phone: 828.258.0710


AAAC - Mamie Fain

Mamie Fain

Program Manager

Mamie has had a spirited appreciation for the arts since childhood. Always surrounded by creative educators and art enthusiasts, it was only a matter of time before joining the field herself. She is a graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina and holds a BA in art history with a minor in studio. Before joining the AAAC, she worked as a corporate retail manager specializing in women’s fashion. Mamie joined the team as an eager intern excited to get involved in the community and is now ready to embark on a new adventure as programs manager. She is passionate about serving the council and encouraging a sustainable future for the arts community of Asheville.


Phone: 828.258.0710


Anna Helgeson

Anna Helgeson

Grants Manager

Anna enjoys giving money away to strangers who are working to keep our culture creative and curious. As a grants administrator, she has ensured that hundreds of artists and scholars have the resources they need to complete their work. As an artist, curator and educator Anna is interested in the invention of craft, the history of othering, and queerness. She received a BA from Ripon College, as well as an MA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She also enjoys watching birds gather in trees, watching her cats watch birds gather in trees, and practicing yoga.



AAAC - Sara Crawford

Sara Crawford


Sara was excited to begin serving as Full-Charge Bookkeeper for Asheville Area Arts Council in 2011. She majored in Accounting at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and has worked with several local organizations as an independent Bookkeeper since 2006. She enjoys not only the nuts and bolts aspects of accounting that some may find boring (and possibly nerdy), but also the ability to make a meaningful contribution to organizations she works with, allowing them to focus on the important work that is their mission. She particularly enjoys the challenge, and reward, of assisting Non-Profit organizations. When she isn’t focusing on the world of finances, Sara enjoys keeping busy with her husband and their three children. She also likes to cook, coupon and bargain hunt, and work on DIY or craft projects.


Phone: 828.258.0710


2019-20 Board of Directors

AAAC - Pete Perez - Chair

Pete Perez


Retired Corporate HR Manager

AAAC - Josh Batenhorst – Vice Chair

Josh Batenhorst

Vice Chair

CEO Bright Star Touring Theatre

AAAC - Noel Swartz – Treasurer

Noel Swartz


Shareholder, Johnson Price Sprinkle PA

AAAC - Gael Perry – Secretary

Gael Perry


Retired Marketing Director

AAAC - Ehren Cruz

Ehren Cruz

Performing Arts Director, LEAF Community Arts

AAAC - Bill Dorfman

Bill Dorfman

Retired School Master

AAAC - Michael Ebbs

Michael Ebbs

Vice President of Treasury Management Client Services

AAAC - David Feingold

David Feingold

General Manager and CEO of WCQS

AAAC - luke Lingle

Luke Lingle

Director of Community Development, Missional Wisdom Foundation

AAAC - Gar Ragland

Gar Ragland

Producer/President, NewSong Music

AAAC - Heather Stefani

Heather Stefani

Owner, blue29

AAAC - Liz Whalen Tallent

Liz Whalen Tallent

Marketing & Special Events Director, The Orange Peel

AAAC - Eunice Ward

Eunice Ward

Retired Lawyer

Advisory Board

Karen Keil Brown, Artist
Robin Croog, Retired Business Executive
Hedy Fischer, Cultural Pollinator
Mark Goldberg, Retired Executive/ Entrepreneur
Craig Harris, Private Wealth Advisor
Susan Holden
Melissa Jacobs, Artist
Jan & Bruce Manes
Michael Manes, Gallery Director, Blue Spiral 1
Cherry Saenger, Retired Professor
Larry Turner, Artist
Susan Turner, Craftsperson/ Retired Entrepreneur
Lynn Weekes Karegeannes, Community Volunteer