Board of Directors
Maureen Bloodworth – Past President
Michael Conrad, M.D.
Susan Davis, RN, Ed. D.
Debbie Douma – Secretary
Maria Goldberg, PhD.
Jerrilynn Hadley – Vice President
Janet Rice McCoy, PhD.
Patty Manhire – President
Stan Sauls – Treasurer
Choh Man Teng
Caitlin Rhea – Executive Director
Lauren Lentile – Creative Director
Kassandra Cotto – Visitor and Member Services
Clare Mattilio – Ceramics Supply & Operations Manager
Ben Twingley – Ceramics Studio Manager / Instructor
Kellie Sylvester – Glass Studio Manager
Keith Jones – Glass Instructor
Kelly Leitermann – Events Manager
Theresa Doidge – Bookkeeper
Cheyenne Ryan – VISTA, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
Lou Mitchell Courtney – Sculpture Instructor
Lou Mitchell Courtney received her BFA in Design from UNCGreensboro after graduating high school from the NCSchool of the Arts in Visual Art.
Courtney has experience with many art mediums and techniques and in various scales- painting miniatures as well as backdrops for theatre, designing and sculpting originals for cast furniture and accessories, and small figurative bronzes. She returned to clay sculpting in 2002, initially focusing on custom art tile installations and handmade sinks (sold across the Southeast for nearly a decade). During the past 8 years she also designed 2 public art sculptures in steel (’Starlight’ and ‘Jubilee!’). She has won awards at various art shows (GGAF, Art in the Park, Gulf Breeze celebrates the Arts). Currently her work can be seen at Visual Index gallery in NC and at 1060 gallery, Pensacola.
‘My sculptures are sometimes simply representations of the beauty I see in the world. At other times they are a reflection of my inner world, an exploration of mortality and vulnerability. The cannonball series include joyful, wall hung figurative sculptures of people jumping into the (imaginary) water below. The ‘Sew Yourself Back Together’ series and my ‘Monsters of the Imagination’ are about courageously facing our fears, and healing ourselves.’
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.
Clare Mattilio- Staff Member/ Instructor
Clare Mattilio is a ceramic artist from Lancaster Pennsylvania. She received her B.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2019, then moved to Pensacola to start working as the Ceramic Supply & Operations Manager at FCAC in the same year. At Alfred, her main focus was ceramics, but took additional classes in education and printmaking, as well as interning in the galleries on campus as an assistant preparator. Clare’s work is primarily ceramic figure sculptures, utilizing facial expressions and body language to show emotions, and articulating the absurdities of life through clay. Clare teaches the Creating with Clay for Kids class offered on the 2nd Saturday of each month.
Ben Twingley – Staff Member/ 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 manages the ceramics facility at FCAC. Since 2006 he has helped fire large wood kilns with the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society. He received his MFA in Creative Technology and Practice from the University of South Alabama. 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.
Youth Art Program
Nicolette Dugas – Lead Youth Art Educator
Email Nicolette at: YAP@firstcityart.org