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.
Visual Arts Director
Rebecca Collins received her Bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Fine Art from Hofstra University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration. While obtaining her undergraduate degrees, she worked for The Roerich Museum and Marvelli Gallery in New York City. Rebecca continued her professional career working with 19th and early 20th century American paintings at Hawthorne Fine Art in Manhattan, where she served as Assistant Director and contributed to the procurement and sales of historic works from such artists as Frederick Carl Frieseke, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Maurice Prendergast, Childe Hassam, George Inness and Martin Johnson Heade. After relocating to North Carolina in 2009, she accepted a position as Director of Wooden Stone Gallery, and while there discovered the exceptional talent of contemporary artists and artisans of the Southeast.
Since joining the Cabarrus Arts Council as the Visual Arts Director in 2013, Rebecca has curated over twenty exhibitions for The Galleries and launched numerous programs, including A Closer Look, Art Lab and Family Day – each designed to fulfill the mission of engaging the community with contemporary art.
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.
Performing Arts Director
A native Midwesterner, Bunny comes to the Cabarrus Arts Council from Terre Haute, Indiana where she was the Performing Arts Director at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. While at Rose-Hulman, she managed the 600-seat Hatfield Hall Theater and oversaw the extracurricular activities of the student performing arts groups. She was responsible for programming and promoting the vocal, instrumental and theatrical student activities at the science and engineering school. Bunny also has extensive experience as a theater director. For 22 years she was the artistic director of the Rose-Hulman Drama Club where she had the pleasure of directing college students in over 70 stage productions, including over 30 musicals.
Bunny also has over nine years’ experience as a performing arts presenter. She was responsible for booking artists for the popular Hatfield Hall Performing Arts Series, Family Series and school-day matinee program. In addition to arts programming, Bunny also has experience in fundraising and patron development.
Public Relations Director
Elisabeth Thornton spent several years as a journalist before joining the Cabarrus Arts Council as its Media Relations Coordinator in August 2016. She’s written hundreds of feature articles on the arts, as well as on innovative science discoveries, marketing trends and profile pieces. Her work has appeared in the Miami Herald, The Seattle Times, The Columbus Dispatch, The News & Observer and the Independent Tribune, among others. While an independent reporter for The Charlotte Observer, she also wrote prolifically on interests pertaining to Cabarrus County.
Elisabeth has an extensive background in radio broadcasting, performing as on-air talent, providing voiceover work, and producing radio commercials. She is a former co-host of a top-rated Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) morning radio show in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Elisabeth earned a BS in Secondary Education: English from the State University of New York, and has taught writing and literature to middle and high school students.
Patrons of the Davis Theatre may recognize Jennifer as one of the ushers who showed them to their seats during a performance. A volunteer turned employee, now Jennifer has a new role as the Cabarrus Arts Council's bookkeeper.
A graduate of Montreat College, Jennifer holds an A.S. in Business Administration and is in the process of receiving her license as a Certified Public Bookkeeper. She has worked in the administrative field for over 10 years, but has found her niche in accounting, where she has worked the past four years.
A graduate of Northwest School of the Arts, Jennifer majored in dance. When not working, she enjoys attending her children's plays, band concerts and sporting events.
Jennifer lives in Harrisburg, NC where she is happily married to Matthew Cotton and has four children: Arianna, Kaleb, Mattison and Montana.
Neha Sudhakar joined the Cabarrus Arts Council after graduating summa cum laude from Catawba College with a BA in Music. Neha’s passion for arts and culture took root in high school when she served as a teaching assistant for her school choir, volunteered as a worship leader at two churches, and interned at the NC Museum of Science in Raleigh, NC.
During college, Neha’s service as a Resident Assistant and her work as a Teaching Fellow in the Catawba College Youth Theology Discover Program bolstered her keen interest in community development and further fueled her appreciation for arts and cultural organizations. Neha deeply explored this interest in her Honors thesis, which examined music’s role in building community identity among diasporic youth. In 2021, she presented her research at the Southern Regional Honors Conference and the Catawba Research & Creativity Symposium. Neha was awarded the “Frank W. Goodnight Civitan Scholarship in Music” in recognition of her contributions to the college music program and surrounding community. In addition, Neha has had the privilege of performing in a variety of music ensembles, including touring with the Catawba Campus Praise Band in Charlotte, NC and Frederick, MD.
Ruby Kate joined the Cabarrus Arts Council upon graduating summa cum laude from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Music. Ruby Kate was homeschooled by her parents and grew up exploring the arts in every way possible; painting, drawing, photography, music, and jewelry-making were among her favorite activities.
In high school, Ruby Kate taught violin lessons, and during college, she completed an internship with the Mint Museum, where she worked directly under the Chief Curator to acquire photographs of artists from the museum’s numerous collections. She also participated in UNC Charlotte’s 8th Annual Art History Symposium, as well as the UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Research Conference, where she presented her senior thesis about European Orientalism and its manifestation in the painting and music of 19th-century France.
Ruby Kate has also had the privilege of performing with the Charlotte Symphony, the Western Piedmont Symphony, among other nationally recognized performers. Among Ruby Kate’s favorite things are adventures with her husband, Jacob, a robust cup of black coffee, and treasure-hunting in massive antique malls.