The Cabarrus Arts Council staff is a team of professionals that brings a combination of knowledge, experience and talent to the council. Skill, character and competence are evident in each member, and the team has specialists in a variety of art disciplines: theatre, dance, music, literary and visual art.
Visitors to the galleries and theatre discover a friendly, warm atmosphere where everyone is accessible. Community partners quickly learn that the arts council Executive Director and staff are team players, working for the good of the whole.
Lisa Baker McCombs is a cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina Charlotte where she received a BA in Communication Studies in 2008. After completing the Disney College Program internship in Florida, she interned with Clear Channel Radio and was hired to work with radio programming, traffic networking and event promotions. Lisa has been involved with arts all of her life, participating in art camps, dance choreography and competition choirs throughout Cabarrus County. At Concord High School, she took several semesters of theatre and was the winner of the 2003 Theatre Award for "Outstanding Leadership and Director Assistance."
She was first introduced to the Cabarrus Arts Council during an Art Walk with her family and friends and joined the arts council staff in July 2008. Lisa is a 2014 alumna of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Cabarrus program.
Director of Performing Arts
Dr. Brian Sullivan comes to the Cabarrus Arts Council after years as a high school band director, community music facilitator, church music director, and performer. Brian holds a Bachelor's Degree in music education from Stetson University, and a Master's and Ph.D. in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where his research focused primarily on arts-based service-learning with incarcerated youth and exploring the philosophical, ethical, and pedagogical utility of hospitality in music classrooms. Brian has presented and published his research at a variety of national and international peer-reviewed music education forums.
Since moving to Concord in 2018, Brian has been spreading the joy of playing the ukulele around North Carolina thanks to support from a 2019 project support grant from the Cabarrus Arts Council for his “Uke Can Play” events and workshops. When not at work, Brian enjoys playing mandolin with his band Piedmont Temperance Movement, camping and hiking around NC with his wife and two sons, biking around Concord, and pickin’ on random stringed instruments on his front porch.
Director of Development and Community Engagement
Sasha Banks joined the Cabarrus Arts Council in March of 2023, bringing to the role over a decade of experience working in arts fundraising, arts education, as well as community and activistic organizations. As Community Engagement Manager at the Poetry Project in Manhattan, Sasha worked alongside writers, publishers, performance artists, musicians, and visual artists to secure funding that would support creatives directly and impact the artistic development of the historic Lower East Side community.
Sasha is a Pushcart-nominated poet and filmmaker whose work has been published in The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, PBS Newshour, and others. She received her MFA at Pratt Institute. She is a 2019 Rhode Island Writers’ Colony Fellow and the creator of Poets for Ferguson. She is the author of america, MINE.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Abi is a Mexican American painter and a current resident of Downtown Concord. Abi utilizes art as a tool to explore and affirm her identity and hopes to create that space within her own community here in Cabarrus County.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her bachelor’s in arts, Abi continued her education at UNCC to pursue a graduate’s degree in Art Education. She taught 4 years in public, charter, and college prep schools within Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties.
Mallory Spagnoletti is a painter and papermaker from the mountains of North Carolina. She comes to the Cabarrus Arts Council with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a minor in communications from Appalachian State University. Prior to college, she interned with the Surry Arts Council and Andy Griffith Museum as an office assistant and curatorial intern. Shortly after receiving her degree, she completed a fellowship program at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. In July of 2023, she taught an introductory class in papermaking at Clifton Forge School of the Arts.
Her personal practice focuses on capturing a memory and making it into a tangible memento that will outlive herself. She has been exploring the recollection process, which allows her to let her memories emerge the way they exist in her head. Mallory approaches art making in a lot of different ways, most of which consist of process over the product.
She enjoys teaching others as well as participating in artists' workshops herself, adding as many tools to her belt as possible.