In July of 2017, the FOA added two new members to our team. Kaitlyn Bass is now the Arts Center Manager and head of our Ballet program. Bethany Cannon will serve as our Art Specialist and lead the arts program. We sat down with both of them for a quick q and a to help you get better acquainted with them, as well as learn how they plan to improve the FOA and the community at large.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
Kaitlyn: Well, I don’t know how much there is to tell really. I live a pretty quiet life with my husband, Joe, in midtown in Memphis. We have four dogs who keep us entertained to no end with their weirdness — seriously, they’re oddballs. When I’m not working, you can usually find me at home, in the gym, or in the ballroom studio, but if I have a chance to go overseas, I’ll jump at every opportunity. I’ve actually been very lucky and have gotten to go to Europe more than ten times — Paris is my favorite city, Germany is my favorite country, and the Mediterranean countries are my favorite for relaxing.
Bethany: I grew up as the child of an Air Force chaplain, moving around the country and finally settled in Searcy, Arkansas for college and most of my adult life. After attending Harding University I spent a year in Togo, West Africa teaching missionaries’ children school and art. Following that year I spend a year in Nashville and then returned to Searcy, AR where I lived as a freelance artist and graphic designer, meanwhile giving private and group art lessons to children of all ages and adults. Two years ago I returned to school to get my Masters of Arts in Education and I taught middle school and high school art for two years before moving to Jonesboro in the summer of 2017. I love imparting my knowledge of art and my joy in creating. I believe creativity in it’s many forms is part of living to the full and fosters a sense of joy, self-worth, and a power to imagine, dream and problem solve that will be valuable life-long. I hope to be a life-long creator and learner!
Q: How have the arts played a part in your life?
Bethany: Making and teaching art has been the primary occupation of my life. As a junior high and high school student art was where I found joy and excellence. I also enjoyed participating in theater productions during my adolescence and found a special camaraderie and belonging among other artist/theater kids. Creative activities of all kinds provide a fullness and depth of life all people long for in some form. I never expected to be an artist or art teacher, but somehow I could never get away from those things and I’m grateful to be doing what I love.
Kaitlyn: I have been involved in the arts since I was a little girl. I was probably one of the only seven year olds who knew not only Disney movies (“Beauty and the Beast” is still my favorite), but also “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and “Funny Girl.” Dance, musical theatre, and music have shaped pretty much every aspect of my person, from political views to what kind of books I prefer. The arts are life for me, it’s as simple as that.
Q: What brought you to the FOA?
Bethany: What has always been in my heart as an adult is this mission: To do art and serve the community. Being at FOA offers the perfect opportunity to serve the community in the encouragement of a passion that has added so much to my own life and which has enriched the life-rhythm of every thriving society since the beginning of time. When I met Kristi Pulliam and heard about FOA I knew if was a perfect fit for my calling and passion.
Kaitlyn: I talked to my husband in March about stopping my studies in Biomedical Engineering because I just was not happy with what I was doing, and I felt myself being pulled back to the studio. I prayed a lot about finding a job that would satisfy this longing, and that’s when I found the FOA. I feel exceedingly lucky to have been given the opportunity to work here.
Q: What do you hope to bring to the FOA and the community?
Bethany: I hope to bring more opportunities for involvement in the visual arts to FOA and Jonesboro. I enjoy organization and gathering people together. In addition to FOA’s art classes for children and adults I hope to help plan more art shows, competitions and an art walk in the coming year.
Kaitlyn: I want to bring a greater understanding of classical ballet to my students and the people involved in the FOA in general. I hope to grow the program and make it into a truly pre-professional program that will be well respected throughout the entire state of Arkansas.
Q: How can people reach out to you?
Bethany: People can reach me with questions or ideas anytime! My email address is: email@example.com. I would love to hear from anyone wanting to get involved, attend or teach art classes, etc.
Kaitlyn: If you want to reach out to me, I suggest email as a first line of communication because I am constantly in and out of my office. I want to be there for my students and parents in every way, and that tends to be the most effective. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org