FCAC Board of Directors, Staff, and Instructors

Board of Directors

Alexis Leader

Brianna Sharpe – Secretary

Choh man Teng

Debbie Douma

Emily Marsh

Fred Donovan, Jr.

Jane Switzer – VP of Development

Jennifer Fleming

Joe Abston

Joshua Trahan

Krist Lien – Past President

Mark Robertson

Maureen Bloodworth – President

Michael Conrad, M.D.

Michelle MacNeil

Patty Manhire – VP of Programs

Scott Satterwhite

Stan Sauls – Treasurer

Steve Davidson

Thomas Asmuth

Vivian Spencer

FCAC Staff

Caitlin Rhea – Managing Director

Lauren Lentile – Creative Director

Crystal King – Development / Outreach VISTA


Jonathan Kusnerek – Ceramics Supply Manager / Instructor

Ben Twingley – Ceramics Studio Manager / Instructor

Joe Hobbs – Glass Studio Manager

Hillary Heckard – Glass Arts Fellow



Ben Twingley – Ceramics Studio Manager / Instructor

Ben Twingley was introduced to clay at an early age by his father, who was a potter and art teacher for almost 30 years. He spent time on the wheel as a kid and later immersed himself in ceramics early in college. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He worked as a staff photographer for the Pensacola News Journal for 11 years before dedicating all his time to ceramics. Currently he teaches ceramics at First City Art Center and Pensacola State College while managing the ceramics facility at FCAC. Since 2006 he has helped fire large wood kilns with the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society. His work has earned several awards in recent years at the Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival. Visit bentwingley.com to see his work.

Pearl VanHoove – Pottery Instructor

Pearl was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. After falling in love with drafting in 7th grade, she continued that path and obtained a B.S. in Technology Education with a minor studio concentration in Sculpture from California University of Pennsylvania. Throughout this time she entered sculptures in many juried art exhibitions throughout the Pittsburgh area, receiving awards of merit. Her sculptures were primarily composed of earthen materials including clay, twine, concrete and metal, often of figures. Pearl began pottery while attending Cal U and continued classes at the Belmont Arts Center after moving to Pensacola in 2006. Pearl enjoys making functional pottery and learning new techniques and forms.

Sam Nettles – Sculpture Instructor

Sam Nettles received his B.F.A. from the University of South Alabama and did intensive figurative studies at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Connecticut. His major and private commissions, among many, include the Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial in Milton, a fiberglass bas-relief celebrating the diversity of life on earth and an attempt to understand it through DNA, located at the University of West Florida and of course, the Hawkshaw Lagoon Missing Children Memorial in Pensacola. His work has also garnered a myriad of awards nationally.


Hillary Heckard –  Glass Arts Fellow

Hillary Heckard was raised in Northern California. She attended the University of Oregon in 2004 and received her Bachelors of Art degree in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Ethnomusicology in 2008. During her time at University, Hillary was given the opportunity to partake in a study abroad program that brought her to the University of Hawaii. She went on to receive a second Bachelors of Fine Art degree with a focus in glass at UH Manoa. Hillary was awarded the Outstanding Glass Student and Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund Scholarship to attend courses at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood Washington. Throughout her enrollment, Heckard worked for Tiki Glass, and Island Glass Works in Kailua, Hawaii alongside Geoff Lee and was the UH Manoa Glass Studio Technician. Upon Graduation, Hillary was awarded the Traveling Assistantship Scholarship at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. In this position, she helped educate the community through classes and daily public demonstrations.

A recent MFA graduate of Alfred University, Hillary accepted a 2-year Glass Arts Fellowship position at First City Art Center in 2018. Teaching is a passion for Heckard; she was a teaching Assistant for glass courses at Alfred University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Wesleyan College and Tide Water Community College. Heckard has exhibited internationally at institutions such as the Chrysler Museum of Art, University of Hawaii Manoa, Portsmouth Museum, Windward Community College, and the Glass Furnace in Istanbul Turkey. Hillary’s artwork can be viewed here: https://www.hillaryheckard.com/

Youth Art Program

Suzanne Findeisen – Lead Youth Art Educator

Suzanne Findeisen has been an art instructor over forty years and was part of the team that created the Youth Art Program (YAP) at FCAC. She is also a member of Art Beyond Walls, a FCAC group with a mission to enhance the community through public art. She loves to sew, draw, paint and work in mixed media. She believes art provides many avenues of development for children of all ages and should be fun.

Suzanne grew up in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and received her art teaching degree from University of South Alabama in 1979. Upon graduation, she taught art in the Ocean Springs Public School System (1980-1985) and then owned and operated a wearable art boutique in downtown Ocean Springs (1985-90). She also worked as a newspaper sports and feature photographer at The Ocean Springs Record, a local weekly paper from 1975-90.In 1990, Suzanne moved to Washington, DC with her family where she became part of the art team at Capitol Hill Day School, a small independent school that integrated the arts with core subjects. After a one-year stint at a manufacturing company in Vermont, she moved back to Ocean Springs and became involved with the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center (2008-2012). In August of 2013, Suzanne and her husband moved to Pensacola. Since then she has taught art for the Pensacola Museum of Art’s outreach program working with the Pace Center for Girls and Teen Art Camp. Since 2015, she has been an art instructor for Creatisphere, First City Art Center’s summer art program. Email Suzanne at: YAP@firstcityart.org