Steve Carr, Chair
Steve is currently Director, Category Management and Insights for the JM Smucker Company where he has worked since 2008. Prior to that, Steve worked at Procter & Gamble for 23 years in various roles. Originally from Philadelphia, Steve received his undergraduate degree from Duquesne University and MBA from St Joe’s University.
Jeannie Hulen, Vice Chair
Jeannie Hulen is a Professor of Ceramics and Associate Dean in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, over Art, Music, Theatre and World Languages at the University of Arkansas. She received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from Louisiana State University. She has held numerous solo and group exhibitions, nationally and internationally. Recent notable activities include stewarding historic gifts from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation and Windgate Charitable Foundation to inaugurate a School of Art at the University of Arkansas, as well as serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, West Africa during 2018-19.
Sofia Vawter, Secretary
Sofia Vawter is a Multicultural Evangelist and a Non-profit Champion. She has vast experience in the retail, beverage, financial, real estate, advertising, and non-profit sectors. Sofia grew up in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, then moved to the United States and has lived in several states during the course of her professional career. Being Bi-cultural and bilingual-fluent in English and Spanish- has allowed her to see the world through a multicultural lens and with an inclusive mindset. She worked for the world’s largest company: Walmart, where she spearheaded the creation and implementation of the first ever Hispanic Marketing department for Walmart U.S. that included recruiting the Hispanic Advertising Agency of record, media agency, and working closely with many top Hispanic organizations, suppliers and Walmart’s merchandising teams to ensure implementation of culturally relevant in-store programs, advertising and marketing efforts. Sofia also has experience in the advertising industry, where she managed advertising efforts for global and national brands such as Budweiser, Michelob, Bank One, and Money Gram. Her philanthropy interests have led her to serve as a Board Member of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas and St. Joseph Catholic School in Fayetteville. To learn more about Sofia follow her on LinkedIn.
Barb Putman, Treasurer
Barb’s treasured history with Community Creative Center began in 2010 when she was working for Walton Arts Center and was appointed to the CCC board of directors as an organization representative. Together with other board members, they secured a transformative capacity building grant from the Walton Family Foundation and was hired on as CCC’s new Executive Director in 2013. Over the next eight years Barb helped to grow the organization through developing arts education programming for Northwest Arkansas students, expanding adult art classes and workshops, developing outreach relationships with other community and arts organizations, building community awareness and strengthening the organization’s financial standing. In 2017 Barb imagined a unique and innovative way to increase access to arts experiences by creating and launching CCC’s traveling art studio, the Wheel Mobile. Barb retired as ED in 2021 and has rejoined the CCC board to help the organization move into its next exciting phase in the Northwest Arkansas arts and cultural scene. Barb’s enjoying her retirement spending time with her granddaughters, traveling with her husband and walking her dog Roxie.
Marcella Thompson, Emeritus
Retired from the University of Arkansas after 28 years of teaching Sociology. I took my first class at CCC at age 65 and was immediately addicted to clay. Within a year, I had my own home studio and was President of the CCC board. I was involved in the first grant application process to the Walton Family Foundation and have been on the board ever since. I served well past the time limit for board members and two years ago was made a board member emeritus. The CCC community has been an important part of my life all these years and I want others to share that sense of community. While most of us will never be defined by the broader art community as great artists, at CCC we ARE artists, and we make sure that everyone who walks through the doors can be a part of that. Can be that artist they never thought they had in them. That is why I will stay involved with CCC until I’m too damn old to roll out a slab of clay. To create art is the gift we give the community.
Chris is a professor at the University of Arkansas in Sociology and Criminology, and previously worked as an attorney. Chris is a clay artist who got started by taking classes at the CCC and continued to hone his skills over the years. He regularly sells pottery at the holiday market and via shops in Eureka Springs and is building a studio at his home in Eureka Springs. Chris loves teaching at the University of Arkansas, but considers Pottery his second calling. He joined the board of directors in 2018. Shortly afterwards, he began teaching wheel one classes. Chris dedicates as much time and energy to the CCC as his schedule allows. Chris says “I want everyone to have the opportunity to learn pottery and tumble down the rabbit hole like I did.”
Courtney Backus Norton is a Territory Manager for Align Technology/Invisalign. Courtney is originally from Little Rock, AR where she graduated from the historic Little Rock Central High School. Courtney then moved to NWA to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She received her B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in Advertising / Public Relations and Marketing.Courtney believes in giving back to the community where she lives and actively participates in fundraising events as well as gives her time to several organizations in the area. Courtney is involved in the following organizations throughout the community: Board Member of the Community Creative Center; member of the Junior Civic League of Fayetteville; a past member of the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas, served as a board member for two years; mentor at Saving Grace for 10 years; participated as an Art Educator with Art Feeds NWA; volunteered for the American Heart Association where she has served as Chair of the Purseonality Purse Auction for 5 years and was a LipSync Contestant at the Heart Ball where she won the Community Awareness Award; President of the Tri Delta Alumnae Chapter for Northwest Arkansas; member of the Tri Delta House Corporation, as well as Recruitment Specialist for the National Tri Delta Fraternity for the South Central Region and helped serve the local Tri Delta Chapter; and volunteers her time with Open Avenues as well as the Susan G Komen Ozark. She was a 2015 Kiss A Pig Candidate for the American Diabetes Association where she was awarded the High Hoof Award for raising the most community awareness. Also, she was a member of the Leadership Benton County Class X.Courtney grew up going to art class in her hometown of Little Rock, AR at the Arkansas Art Center. Courtney has always been a big supporter and believer in the arts, especially exposing children to the arts at a young age can help children with their development, feeling of expression, self confidence and creativity. When we value not only children’s creativity, but value people’s creativity in general it builds value into their hearts and souls and can lift their self esteem. There are no wrong answers in art and that is what makes it so beautiful. Courtney and her husband Hunter reside in Fayetteville with their daughter Lawson and son Nash with their two dogs Onyx and Rufas.
Cynthia has lived in NWA for nearly a decade after accepting a position with Ozark Guidance Center, subsequently becoming their CEO. She is now semi-retired and works for CARF International in providing surveys required for accreditation of behavioral health agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Cynthia has a M.S.W. from the University of Hawaii and lived in Hawai’i for over thirty years during which time she developed a statewide behavioral health agency serving children and youth throughout the islands. During the course of her career as an administrator and licensed clinical social worker, Cynthia has developed multiple programs for children and adults, including outpatient services, residential services for children, therapeutic foster care, school-based programs, after school programs, experiential summer programs for youth, and adult bio-psycho-social programs. Originally from upstate New York, Cynthia is a second-generation Italian American who has particular interest in multi-culturally supportive environments that encourage children and adults to explore who they are, who they have been and who they are becoming. The arts have been a continual thread of inspiration throughout her life and she is committed to supporting the work of the Community Creative Center in opening the doors of exploration and self-discovery for the children, youth and adults of NWA.
“For me, it’s been finding my way through clay. For anyone, the CCC offers a diverse array of opportunities to try something new and fun, advance a skill and grow in confidence within a welcoming and supportive environment.”
Kim is an Arkansas native and, alongside her husband Charles Sharpe, is the owner of CitiScapes Magazine — Northwest Arkansas’s longest-running regional magazine. Kim serves as the Publisher for the publication since 2005. In 2000, Kim moved from Little Rock, where she worked in advertising, to Fayetteville and gained additional experience in the publishing industry prior to owning and publishing CitiScapes Magazine. Aside from her career, Kim enjoys opportunities to give back to her community by getting involved with various nonprofit organizations and by serving as a co-chair and candidate for fundraising efforts. She also has a passion for the growing arts and culture scene and creative outlets for individuals in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, she has served on the Development Council at The Jones Center, is a former member of the Springdale Rotary Club, has served on the Smile for a Lifetime Board, and is a Community Leadership Council Member for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas. Kim enjoys life here in Northwest Arkansas and all of the wonderful amenities the area has to offer.