Interim Executive Director
Jennifer Lewis has a passion for the visual arts and a wealth of experience in non-profit management. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Jennifer began her career in Jewish Community Centers. As the Cultural Arts Director for the Jewish Community Center in Irvine she planned multiple arts, books and film festivals and ran a gallery featuring local artists. Among her proudest achievements was the creation of Live Yes Studio, an alternative arts based day program for adults with developmental disabilities in Lincoln Nebraska. When not working, Jennifer focuses on her son, a budding artist in his own right, who loves musical theatre.
Director, 4 Bridges Arts Festival
A South Carolina native, Phyllis Mescon is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and has lived in Chattanooga since 1982. She has been married to Jed Mescon for 27 years and they are parents to Caroline, who lives in Los Angeles and works in production for the television comedy, Modern Family. Her career experience has centered on nonprofit administration, specifically working for art-related organizations or agencies that provide services to underserved audiences. An enthusiastic supporter of the 4 Bridges Arts Festival, she considers this job a perfect professional opportunity.
Mary Ollie Newman
Director, Development & Membership
Tennessee native Mary Ollie Newman is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and has a life-long love of art and design to go along with a successful career in broadcast journalism and non-profit development. She served as news anchor and reporter at television stations in Florida. She was an anchor/reporter at the CBS-affiliate TV station in Hartford, Connecticut, and later served as Executive Producer at Connecticut Public Broadcasting, where she produced local and regional shows and also programming for PBS. She received two Emmy awards for her broadcast work in Connecticut.
Upon returning home to Chattanooga, she worked for six and a half years for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on development projects. In 2015, she became the Director of Development and underwriting for WUTC FM 88.1, Chattanooga’s National Public Radio affiliate station, where she implemented successful new strategies to raise funds for the non-profit station.
“I am thrilled to be at AVA. Art infinitely enriches all walks of life, and is such a wonderful part of the vibrant city of Chattanooga,” she said.
As a creative outlet, Mary Ollie enjoys designing with textiles and has a keen interest in interior design. Mary Ollie has two adult children and four wonderful grandchildren. She shares her home with two rescued dogs: Ken, a young standard poodle, and Lottie, a senior citizen Bichon Frise. In her free time, she enjoys reading non-fiction and creative cooking with a vegetarian emphasis.
Since graduating from Center for Creative Arts, Kreneshia Whiteside has become an advocate for the arts. As an Anthropology and Art History graduate from East Tennessee State University, she has a bold passion for the arts and the respect of cultures. Kreneshia has been curating exhibitions since 2015 and has worked at various entities such as The Hunter Museum of American Art, Frist Center for Visual Arts, and the Nelson Fine Art Center.
Administrative and Office Coordinator
Dawn McFadden is a native of north Georgia who moved to Chattanooga in 2012 with her family. A graduate of Berry College, Dawn has a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in journalism. Immediately after graduating, she was a reporter and editor for semi-weekly and daily newspapers in Georgia and Alabama for a decade. She has 17 years of experience with non-profit organizations, first as a parish administrator for an Episcopal church, and then in membership and underwriting services at WUTC, Chattanooga’s National Public Radio affiliate station. She and her husband Jim are thrilled to be having a mid-life adventure living in Chattanooga. They have an adult son, and share their home with three rescued dogs and two rescued cats. An avid reader of non-fiction science and social science subjects, Dawn enjoys sewing and home renovation as hobbies.