Arts Culture Catawba Annual Meeting Press Release

(left to right) Board Member Danielle Cannon, dressed as Prince and Ingrid Keller, Executive Director; Elena Noelle Walker, Kathryn Greathouse Legacy Scholarship Award winner, and Kathy Greathouse.
Erin Hooks, 2024 Volunteer of the Year Awardee and Pam Walters, Angel Award winner and retiring Arts Culture Catawba staff member.
Innovative Artist Grant recipient Avery Bumgarner, performing an excerpt from ‘The Golden Goddesses’.
Sheridan See, Artist Support Grant recipient and reception musician, and retiring Board Member and Past President, Alan Jackson.
Incoming President, Patty Thompson and Outgoing President, Alex Frick.

Arts Culture Catawba, formerly known as the United Arts Council of Catawba County, held its Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

The celebratory meeting started with a skit featuring Danielle Cannon as the late musician Prince and Ingrid Keller, Arts Culture Catawba Executive Director.  This was an introduction to the organization’s launch of their new branding and logo.  

Outgoing President Alex Frick presided over the meeting, which was held in the Keiser Community Room at the SALT Block. He recognized the United Arts Council’s funding support from Senator Dean Proctor, the North Carolina Arts Council and from Catawba County Government, City of Hickory, City of Newton, City of Conover and the Town of Maiden.

Treasurer Michael Roper shared some of the Arts Council’s accomplishments, including the establishment of two new partnerships, the completion of seven research projects and surveys, the public launch of Creative Catawba Cultural Plan, the Economic Impact Study and the United Arts Fund campaign.  He thanked the United Arts Fund donors for their contributions. He also recognized the recent staff changes with the coming onboard of staff members Chris Coffey as Grants Manager and Mary Grace Sheets as the new Business Manager.  Pam Walters was also recognized for her recent retirement as Marketing and Creative Content Manager.

Music during the reception was provided by Sheridan See, an Artist Support Grant recipient and Avery Bumgarner, a recent Innovative Artist grant recipient. 

Erin Hooks was named Volunteer of the Year.  The award was presented by 2023 Volunteer of the Year award recipient and current board member, Bonita Ferretti.  The award is presented to an outstanding person who has made a lasting impact on our cultural community.

Past President Alan Jackson presented Pam Walters the very special Angel Award for her 14 years of commitment and service to Arts Culture Catawba.  Having recently retired, Pam volunteers her time with organizations like the Hickory Soup Kitchen, Meals on Wheels and the Hickory Public Art Commission.

Phil Barringer, son of the award’s dedicatee, presented the Edna Bost Barringer Young Artist Award to Emma Frye, a student studying at the UNC School of the Arts and former student of the Academy of Dance & Fine Arts, Hickory Ballet & Performing Arts and the Ann Freeman Dance Academy.  Emma was unable to attend the meeting however guests were able to watch a video of her audition performance. 

Past Executive Director Kathy Greathouse presented the Kathryn Greathouse Legacy Scholarship Award. This award, created in her honor, is given to a young person aspiring to pursue the arts as a career.  It was presented to its first ever recipient, Elena Noelle Walker, a dance student who has been accepted into a Summer Ballet Intensive at UNC School of the Arts.  

President-Elect Patty Thompson announced the 2024 Artist Support Grant Award Winners: Paul Hunter Speagle, Maria Register, Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, Lark Bodnar, Sheridan See and Dana Pape - who are all Catawba-County residents, plus Joseph William Bigley III, Julie Cioffoletti, Samuel J. Fox, Damien Overcash, Yolanda T. Prince, Gavin Stewart and Lance Turner who are from Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, McDowell & Iredell counties.

Board member Mike Watson announced the Community Cultural Fund recipients: Greater Hickory International Council, Footcandle Film Society, Newton-Conover Community Band, Women’s Resource Center, Hickory Music Factory and several several groups who are part of the county-wide collaboration of Juneteenth Celebrations including the Town of Maiden, City of Hickory Parks & Recreation, Southwest Community Watch in Conover, and Christ Lutheran Church in Kenworth.

Board member Rebecca Hart announced recipients of a Collaborative Arts Project Grant: Centro Latino, Hickory Community Theatre, Hickory Downtown Development Association, Hart Square, Hickory Music Factory, Hickory Public Library, Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center and Western Piedmont Symphony.  

Board member Landon Lane III announced the Innovative Artist Project Grant winners: Jermi Little, Chrishawn Fewell, Andrew Moose, Avery Bumgarner, Andy Thomason, Rachel O’Connor, Hillary Sigmon, Dakota Slade Charles, and Janghyun Thomas Kim. 

Vice President Katherine Rogers announced the Projects Pool grant recipients for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025: AnandaRasa Catawba (Formerly the Catawba Valley Festival of the Arts), Catawba County Schools, Catawba Senior Nutrition Services, Catawba Science Center, Catawba Valley Community Chorus, City of Conover, CVCC Redhawk Publications, Downtown Newton Development Association, Footcandle Film Society, Hart Square Foundation, Hickory Choral Society, Hickory Community Theatre, Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory Music Factory, Hickory Playground, Hmong Southeast Puavpheej, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Newton Public Art Commission, North Carolina Hmong Woman Association Inc., The Green Room Community Theatre, and Western Piedmont Symphony.

Mrs. Roger,s also announced the Arts Improvement Grant recipients: Art N Learn, Catawba Science Center, Centro Latino, City of Hickory Public Art Commission, Hickory Choral Society, Hickory Community Theatre, Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory Music Factory, Hmong Southeast Puavpheej, Mt. Pisgah AME Church, Newton-Conover Community Band, The Green Room Community Theatre, and Western Piedmont Symphony.

President Alex Frick led the Business Session of the meeting which announced the names of the Arts Council’s 2024-2025 board members and the slate of officers.

Retiring board members serving one term include Scott Anderson, Christine Almeida, Pat Middleton, Kim Wallace. Retiring board members serving two terms include Alan Jackson and Allen Wood.

New board members, who will begin serving their terms on July 1, 2024, are Alexis Abernathy, Maryfrances Carter, Arnita Dula, Thelma Eley, Charlie Fox, Luther Rollins, and Jamie Treadaway.

The 2024-2025 slate of officers are: Patty Thompson, President; Katherine Rogers, President-Elect; Michael Roper, Vice President; Kitty Barnes, Secretary; Vickie Martin, Treasurer; and Alex Frick, Immediate Past President. 

Other returning board members are Tracey Bolick, Bonita Ferretti, Rebecca Hart, Amy Hayes, Amanda Hetzel, Landon Lane III, Adele McCarty, Jerry McCombs, Alfred McCorkle, Elizabeth Thao, and Mike Watson.

Arts Culture Catawba makes grants for cultural events throughout Catawba County.  In addition, its annual United Arts Fund campaign provides unrestricted operating support to funded affiliates, including the Catawba Science Center, The Green Room Community Theatre, Hickory Choral Society, Hickory Community Theatre, Hickory Landmarks Society, Hickory Museum of Art, Historical Association of Catawba County, and the Western Piedmont Symphony.

The staff of Arts Culture Catawba includes Ingrid Keller, Executive Director; Mary Grace Sheets, Business Manager; Kat Evans, Creative Content Manager and Artist Services Coordinator; Kelsey Graf, Administrative Assistant; and Chris Coffey, Grants and Research Manager

For more information on Arts Culture Catawba, visit  To make a donation to Arts Culture Catawba, go online through the website link or remit payment to 243 Third Avenue NE, Box 5, Hickory, NC 28601.  The Council can also be reached at 828.324.4906.

Photo Credits: Kat Evans