Staff

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 Board of Directors, she works to amplify what is happening in Buncombe County’s vibrant arts communities and ensure the continued sustainability and growth of the area's richly diverse cultural sector. Katie has more than 20 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 is the President of the Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina, and the Chair of the City of Asheville’s Public Art & Cultural Commission. Katie also serves on the board of Arts North Carolina, the Buncombe County School Arts Advisory Council, and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee.

Hannah Duncan
Hannah Duncan
Assistant Director

From the studio stages of Los Angeles to theatres and event venues all over the country Hannah has spent her career committed to telling stories and building community. Prior to becoming the Assistant Director of the Asheville Area Arts Council she worked as a film/tv actress, a media producer/editor, and served as the Executive Director of the Henderson County Arts Council. She is thrilled to work alongside Katie Cornell to tell the story of the Asheville Area Arts community and to continue her work advocating for the Arts in Western North Carolina. She earned her BFA in Acting from Missouri State University and Theatre Academy London. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina.

Board of Directors

Pete Perez
Pete Perez
Chair
Executive Board
Retired Executive VP HR
josh Batenhorst
Josh Batenhorst
Vice Chair
Executive Board
CEO Bright Star Touring Theatre
Noel Swartz
Noel Swartz
Treasurer
Executive Board
Shareholder, Johnson Price Sprinkle, PA
Gael Perry
Gael Perry
Secretary
Executive Board
Retired Marketing Director
Lauren Brunk
Lauren Brunk
Board
Vice President, Brunk Auctions
Brandy Bourne
Brandy Bourne
Board
Owner & Co-Founder, Horse & Hero and The Big Crafty and Interim University Librarian, UNC Asheville
Bill Dorfman
Bill Dorfman
Board
Retired School Master
David Feingold
David Feigold
Board
General Manager and CEO of Blue Ridge Public Radio
Lori Hines
Lori Hines
Board
CMA & Owner, L Hines Consulting
Luke Lingle
Luke Lingle
Board
Director of Community Development, Missional Wisdom Foundation
Gar Ragland
Gar Ragland
Board
Owner & CEO, Citizen Vinyl and Producer & President, NewSong Music
Liz Whalen Tallent
Liz Whalen Tallent
Board
Marketing & Special Events Director, The Orange Peel
Eunice Ward
Eunice Ward
Board
Retired Lawyer

Arts Coalition Leadership Committee

Laura Mitchell
Laura Mitchell
Arts Education Chair
Buncombe County Schools Arts Education Specialist
Stephanie Hickling Beckman
Stephanie Hickling Beckman
Arts Equity Chair
Executive Director, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collection
AAAC - Gar Ragland
Gar Ragland
Manufacturing Chair
Owner & CEO, Citizen Vinyl and Producer & President, NewSong Music
Jessica Tomasin
Jessica Tomasin
Information Chair
Founder, Connect Beyond Festival and Studio Manager, Echo Mountain Recording
Rae Geoffrey
Rae Geoffrey
Nonprofit Chair
Managing Director, Wortham Center for the Performing Arts
AAAC - Liz Whalen Tallent
Liz Whalen Tallent
Performance Venue Chair
Marketing & Special Events Director, The Orange Peel
Reggie Tidwell
Reggie Tidwell
Professional & Business Services Chair
Owner, Curve Theory
Justin Rabuck
Justin Rabuck
Public Art, Community Events, & Festivals Chair
Owner & Co-Founder, Horse & Hero and The Big Crafty
Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith
Sole Proprietor & Independent Contractor Chair
Craft Your Commerce Project Manager
Michael Manes
Michael Manes
Trade Chair
Gallery Director, Blue Spiral 1

Advisory Council

Jan Manes, Advisory Board Chair & Retired Professor
Karen Keil Brown, Artist
Robin Croog, Retired Business Executive
Mark Goldberg, Retired Executive
Susan Holden
Melissa Jacobs, Artist
Bruce Manes, Tax Manager, Carol L. King & Associates, P. A.
Michael Manes, Gallery Director, Blue Spiral 1
Cherry Saenger, Retired Professor
Larry Turner, Artist

Arts Leadership Council

Stephanie Hickling Beckman, Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective
John Ellis, Asheville Symphony Orchestra
Rae Geoffrey, Wortham Center for the Performing Arts
Steven Hageman, NC Stage Company
Susan Harper & Chanda Calentine, Asheville Community Theatre
Stephanie Moore, Center for Craft
Pam Myers, Asheville Art Museum
Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Global Arts
John Russell, Montford Park Players