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CACHE is a dedicated and disciplinarily diverse team of working artists bonded by a love for the intersection of creativity and community.

Karen Castleman

CACHE Studios Dance & Event Manager

About Karen:

Karen Castleman has spent more than 20 years immersed in the art of dance as a professional dancer, educator, choreographer, and community leader. Following a professional career dancing with MOMIX, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Rubberbandance Group, she has spent the past decade teaching and creating in Northwest Arkansas. Her work has involved engagements and collaborations with incredible organizational partners in the high south and beyond, from more classical commissioned works of contemporary ballet, Red Rover for Tulsa Ballet II, and Late Summer Cycle for NWA Ballet Theatre, to abstract creations for engagements at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary. Both within the gallery and outdoors, in site-specific conversations with sculptural works of art, Karen’s work stretches across the boundaries of contemporary concert dance genres.

As an educator, Karen has taught ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary and social dance forms to students of all ages at schools in California, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Arkansas, including Loyola University of Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Youth Education Department. Karen spent seven years as a dance instructor and six years as director of the high school dance program at Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers, AR and serves on the faculty of NWA Conservatory of Classical Ballet. She has been the recipient of grants and awards from the Artists 360 program, Arkansas Arts Council, Mid-America Art Alliance, and the Walton Family Foundation. In 2021, Castleman received a research grant from the Walton Family Foundation to map the existing dance and movement ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas, connecting with national organizations to investigate potential organizational models for elevating dance and filling gaps identified by the research.

As a pilot project of the research, Castleman introduced DanceChance NWA, a choreography-focused performance series featuring local choreographers and a unique response process giving useful feedback to choreographers and audiences to further understanding and fluency around the craft of making dances.

Karen seeks to connect people to the power, beauty, and joy of dance. She enjoys creating spaces for people to deepen their experience of the art form, whether by introducing novice viewers or students to movement that brings joy, or engaging experienced audiences in work that challenges preconceptions, motivating dialogue. Whether creating dance in a theater, museum, parking garage, or open field, utilizing ballet, modern, popular or pedestrian vocabularies, or facilitating spaces for arts activity, she welcomes communities to join together in engaging the senses to make new meaning out of the most familiar subject, the body.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

I am the Dance and Events Manager at CACHE Studios as well as a consultant for the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study being conducted by Americans for the Arts with the assistance of CACHE. I also serve as a consultant to community members and organizations about dance-related activities in Northwest Arkansas.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in the near future:

I am excited about welcoming the performing arts community into CACHE Studios to utilize the beautiful dance floor that CACHE put in this past May. It has been wonderful to see theater rehearsals, dance rehearsals and classes, and informal performances taking place in this super cool space!

If you could do anything, aside from what you’re doing now, what would you do?:
Make tortillas! And have a tap dancing career!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?:
A sunny hillside in Italy.

Lucas Cowan

Director of Cultural Policy

About Lucas:

Lucas has more than 19 years of curatorial and arts administration experience. He has served as Director & Curator of Public Art for the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Director of Public Art for the Maryland State Arts Council, and Senior Curator of Exhibits for both Millennium Park and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. He is the founder and Chief Consultant for Arts & Culture, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in curation and arts strategy. Lucas attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where he studied Fiber and Material Studies and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Master Program in Arts Administration.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

In his current role as Director of Public & Visual Arts for CACHE, Lucas works with creatives, organizations, and communities to empower a more inspiring, inclusive, and equitable Northwest Arkansas through the national best practices, curations, and integration of policy and strategy through the visual and public arts. His main ethos within all aspects of his work is to find ways to give artists money, space, and time to do what they do best and provide as many opportunities for this to happen in both the public and private sectors.

Share one thing you’ve done, professionally, this year that you’re proud of/excited about:

I am so excited to finally install the work of 35 local and regional artists, as part of the permanent collection of the Ledger in Bentonville. CACHE and the team at Ledger—a newly erected co-working space in Downtown Bentonville—curated and commissioned artists with varied mediums who will each outfit a designated area of the building including common spaces, nooks, and meeting rooms. This living art collaboration is a true reflection of Downtown Bentonville and the opportunity for Ledger to be a creative landscape for the community. This partnership really shows the collaborative process that can happen between private development and the arts in supporting the creative sector that calls Bentonville home.

What is your favorite holiday?:

I am a Christmas ENTHUSIAST! I decorate four trees in my house every year and from November 1 - December 31 if you ask me what I am watching on t.v., my answers will always be either: Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas, Mr. Magoo's a Christmas Carol, Scrooged or A Muppet Family Christmas on repeat. I also listen to Christmas music starting on November 1! Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

What would be the title of your memoir?:

"My Office Amaryllis Bulb: A Tale of Growth, Hibernation and the Struggle to Rebloom"

Meghan Dale

Chief of Staff

About Meghan:

Meghan Dale brings more than ten years of arts and media experience to the team, including backgrounds in sports broadcast journalism, freelance film production, and performing arts.

A New England transplant, Meghan made her way to Arkansas by way of Louisiana, where she spent three years managing production office teams and on-site locations for independent and studio productions. Most recently, she worked in community engagement for Walton Arts Center’s Learning team, coordinating the residency schedules of incoming performing artists. Meghan’s work also focused on creating opportunities for local students, teachers, and life-long learners to engage deeper with the arts. She was the on-site coordinator of Walton Arts Center’s VoiceJam A Cappella Festival, managing logistics, communication, and scheduling of national competitors, judges, and educators, as well as international partners.

In 2018, Meghan was named to the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) class of 30 Under 30.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

As the Chief of Staff, I am responsible for providing organization-wide project management and planning. As our team grows, this mostly looks like air traffic control to ensure we all stay in communication across projects, especially since we often work with artists and nonprofit organizations in different ways.

Share one thing you’ve done, professionally, this year that you’re proud of/excited about:

I received my Non-profit Management certificate from Harvard's Extension School this May. It was challenging to go back to classes while working full time but rewarding to be connected to a network of other nonprofit professionals interested in exploring new solutions to nonprofit challenges like ecosystem building, storytelling, and diversifying funding.

Best vacation you’ve ever taken?

I spent 15 days on a boat exploring the Galapagos Islands and will never have another vacation as magical as that. Please invite me if you're thinking of going, I will drop everything to join you!

What’s your favorite place in NWA?:

The Fayetteville Library! Their space is beautiful and relaxing to work in, and their staff is top-notch.

Lisa Marie Evans

Director of Creative Development

About Lisa Marie:

Lisa Marie Evans is a filmmaker, animator and artist advocate. Evans shares knowledge to empower artists and community. She has developed curricula, taught filmmaking to all ages, and programmed film festivals and events.

Evans was a keynote speaker with her feature documentary, “In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction,” at Gendercom: the International Conference on Gender & Communication in Viterbo, Italy. “In Her Words” was the first film to win the Publishing Triangle’s Leadership Award. In 2022 the film screened at festivals in Italy, Perú, the United States, Ireland, Spain, and Mexico. The film received an honorable mention from OutFest Perú and two awards from the Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, including Director’s Choice and Festival Favorite. “In Her Words" will screen in 2023 at Queer Screen's 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival during World Pride in Sydney, Australia.

Evans co-produced “Beyond Belief,” a digital storytelling project in partnership with the Association of Independents in Radio and Kansas City PBS. She was the project manager, editor and animator for OZCast, an online creative series featuring local, regional and national artists. She is a 2021 recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Fellowship Award in Cinematic Arts.

Evans co-founded and co-curates “Collision: When Visions Combine,” an annual performance event at the Momentary. She has mentored hundreds of multidisciplinary artists through Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Artist INC and in her current role as the Director of Creative Development for CACHE, where she leads professional development programming and grant-making for artists.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

Director of Creative Development. I support artists and creatives all day every day. I lead professional development programming, curate artists for creative opportunities, connect artists to resources and build support through our application/grant processes. I love connecting with artists and am always looking for ways to build community because that has been instrumental in my own career path as an artist.

Share one thing you wish more people knew about CACHE/ What makes you proud to work at CACHE?:

I love the team of beautiful humans with whom I work. Everyone is authentic, works super hard to support one another, and emits this positive energy in all they do.

What was the last tv show you binge-watched?:

Two shows that I totally binge-watched with my wife, Lia, are “House of Flowers” and “Money Heist.” Both are so good. Money Heist raised my blood pressure for sure.

If you could do anything, aside from what you’re doing now, what would you do?:

Eating at El Cielo in Bogota, CO.

Kelsey Howard

Director of Arts Services & Strategic Partnerships

About Kelsey:

Kelsey Howard is a world traveler at heart who’s grateful to call Siloam Springs, AR home. After teaching English in South Korea, Kelsey received the Rotary District 6110 Ralph R. Kirchner Award, which funded her graduate studies in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London) with a specialization in British architecture.

She has worked at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, John Brown University in Siloam Springs as an adjunct professor teaching Art History, and was most recently the Executive Director of Main Street Siloam Springs. In the last several years, she’s had the privilege to combine her love of public art with enhancing historic downtown spaces; she was honored with the Main Street Arkansas Outstanding Director award of 2018-2019. Kelsey currently sits on the governor-appointed Arkansas Historic Preservation Review Committee to protect our state’s historic buildings.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

Director of Arts Services & Strategic Partnerships. I primarily work alongside arts and culture nonprofits and municipal leaders, connecting them with tools, opportunities, and the most valuable asset - each other. I also help design and facilitate CACHE grants to creatives and nonprofits. The best part of my work day is catching up with members of Northwest Arkansas’ creative community and learning new ways to amplify and cheer on their work.

Share one thing you wish more people knew about CACHE:

I wish people knew that everything we do is in response to the inspiring work of our local creatives and nonprofits. The talent is already here and NWA folks have been doing this work for a long time. CACHE is here to listen, help build capacity, and cheer on our creative community.

What’s your favorite place in NWA?: Downtown Siloam Springs; especially Ivory Bill Brewing

Favorite arts space?: The Sir John Soane’s Museum London (by candlelight)

If you could do anything, aside from what you’re doing now, what would you do?

: Surface pattern designer, specifically designing wallpaper inspired by both late-19th century British Arts & Crafts movement textiles and Arkansas-native flowers

Peter Jasso

Interim President & CEO / Director of Operations

Peter has worked in government arts administration for the past 20 years. He is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinema-Television and worked in a variety of capacities in the entertainment industry before becoming Director of the Kansas Film Commission in 2002. He also produced several short films and documentaries that screened at festivals including AFI Fest in LA. In 2012, Peter was tasked with establishing the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, a new state arts agency located within the Kansas Department of Commerce focused on the role arts and culture play in community and economic development. During his tenure, he oversaw the writing of a new statewide arts plan, the development and administration of 10 new grant categories, the reestablishment of partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts and Mid-America Arts Alliance, the creation and management of a team of field representatives, and the implementation of several professional development convenings and original programs including the Tallgrass Artist Residency, Indigenous Arts Initiative, Arts in Medicine, New Play Lab and New Dance Lab.

Brittany Johnson

Director of Communications

Brittany Johnson is an arts administrator originally from Houston, Texas. She fell in love with Northwest Arkansas after moving to the region in 2017 to join the Communications and Marketing team at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. While at Crystal Bridges, she held multiple positions, led DEAI efforts for the institution and its sister venue, the Momentary, and founded the museum's first Black and African-American staff resource group. Brittany has held positions at Houston Arts Alliance, Mexic-Arte Museum, and SFMOMA. She holds dual graduate degrees in Arts Management from both SMU in Dallas, USA and HEC Montréal in Montreal, Canada and has a masters in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Thalia Madewell

Operations Manager, The Medium

About Thalia:

Since 2015, Thalia has been a vital liaison between performing arts and the community, following more than a decade of in-home education fueling the minds and passions of her five children. Combining her scientific background — a Cum Laude University of Arkansas graduate with a degree in Environmental, Soil, and Water Science — with the artistic, athletic, and academic world in which she was immersed, Thalia began her career as Production Manager for the Northwest Arkansas Conservatory of Classical Ballet, the region’s premiere dance school.

In 2019, Thalia continued to cultivate a relevant landscape for dance in Northwest Arkansas, working with acclaimed directors, artists, and choreographers as Project Manager on a successful six-month pilot program called Dance Anywhere/Everywhere. Later, as Executive Director of NWA Ballet Theatre, she managed 22 professional dancers and administratively supported art that began receiving national attention. Thalia orchestrated the day-to-day operations of NWABT and quickly became the hub of information flowing in and out of the organization. She not only solidified the continuation of the company, but found her niche in the curation of relationships among artists, venue operators, arts organizations, and community leaders.

Thalia is an Enneagram 6, born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She’s been married 22 years and has 5 children, aged 19 to 10, whom she gave birth to at home. She is a Sagittarius Sun (barely) who identifies as a Capricorn, Gemini Moon, Gemini Rising. Thalia used to be a tap dancer and marathon runner; now she go on long walks for exercise, but also to binge podcasts. Thalia geeks out on astrology but will also talk anything Kardashian with you too.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

I spend a good part of my day in our venue and event software, managing the internal and external booking processes for The Medium. I am the first and primary point of communication for reservations. Additionally, I also coordinate much of The Medium’s administrative tasks including staff meetings and calendars.

Share one thing you’ve done, professionally, this year that you’re proud of/excited about:

I began work at CACHE in January 2022, just as the Creative Exchange Fund was taking shape. I am proud to have contributed to that groundbreaking grant opportunity!

What’s your favorite place in NWA?: Beaver Lake.

What’s the last tv show you binge-watched?: That’s a tie between Apple TV’s Physical and Loot. Impatiently waiting for season 3 of both!

Amber Perrodin

Artist & Community Manager, The Medium

Inspired by the Ozark region she was born in, Amber Perrodin is a community-focused artist, friend of the forest, and chronic grassroots organizer that feeds on empowering others.

Perrodin is currently the Artist Fellow with “Looking for America” and as a result has curated the Ozark Story Project, a creative storytelling project exploring and cataloging the intersection of immigrant and traditional folklore in the Ozarks. Since 2018, Perrodin has served as a local team member with “Live in America”, a collaborative research project presented by The Momentary, that seeks to amplify the full and rich terrain of performance art in America.

A mixed-media artist based in Springdale, Arkansas, Perrodin is energized by the sense of place and community. Previously serving as the Program Director with the Downtown Springdale Alliance, Perrodin organized over 100 events in just two years.

Amber is the creator of The Little Craft Show and Team Springdale. She also co-founded and organizes The Creative Social Retreat and, along with her husband, they’ve nurtured an artist-led space in their downtown Springdale art studio that’s services the neighborhood and surrounding community through public and private events.

It’s clear for Perrodin, that art, nature, and community go hand in hand. Often found foraging for wild mushrooms, swimming in creeks, and searching for tumbled creek glass, Perrodin brings the essence of these quiet moments into her artwork and community-focused projects, living by the motto: “What you focus on becomes what is.”.

John Wayne Pharr

General Manager, The Medium

About John:

John Wayne is a Filipino-American who has spent half of his life on opposite sides of the world. But no matter where he has been, there has always been an innate desire to make sounds and capture them. He began his musical journey as an avid listener, which then progressed into learning to become a keyboardist, a choir member, and finally a self-taught guitarist. That path proceeded to him taking on roles as an audio engineer, videographer, and live sound technician. Later on in life, he was introduced to his second passion, construction. With more than five years of experience in various aspects of construction, he is looking to transform The Medium in Downtown Springdale into a safe and evolving space that provides for the needs of local creatives.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

Serving as General Manager for The Medium, my day-to-day involves keeping up with the facility itself and how our partners interact with it, assuring that the facility and technical aspects are up par with the needs of our community partners. 

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in the near future 

The continuing work of making new connections and being able to invite them into the space and helping them bring their creative concepts to fruition.

If you could do anything, aside from what you’re doing now, what would you do?:

Be a mechanic or some sort of handyman. I appreciate getting to work with my hands, fixing things that people think are broken, or just building something from scratch.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?:

I’m torn between time travel and teleportation, so potentially the ability to bend space and time.

What would be the title of your memoir?:

Easily, “JWP, Who?”

Preston Poindexter

Music & Events Coordinator

About Preston:

Preston Poindexter is a multidisciplinary artist from Memphis, TN who made Northwest Arkansas his home in the Spring of 2016. Since then he has studied Computer Science and Marketing at the University of Arkansas, worked as the programming coordinator for INTERFORM—where he co-created the Assembly Biennial—studied museum curation at Crystal Bridges, worked as an independent music producer, and served as the Event Manager for the Downtown Springdale Alliance.

What is your role? Describe your day-to-day responsibilities:

As the Music and Events Coordinator, Preston’s day-to-day consists of connecting and fostering new relationships with musicians from and around the Midwest and Southern United States. You will often find him working alongside local artists at Live Music Bentonville, and Groundwaves.

What was your first job ever?


My first job was as an intern at News Channel 5 back home in Memphis, TN. I was 16 at the time and only left because I found out I would soon be making Northwest Arkansas my new home.
Best vacation you’ve ever taken?:

Right before starting my freshman year of college, my family and I took a trip to San Diego. I honestly don’t remember much of the trip, but it was the first time I had ever seen the ocean. That and hearing “Blonde” by Frank Ocean for the first time (while staring out an airplane window) were two life-changing experiences I could never forget.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?:


What would be the title of your memoir?

And then…”

Cynthia Tran

Event & Front of House Coordinator, The Medium

A creative at heart, Cynthia D. Tran is a fine art photographer, educator, event curator, and multi-disciplinary artist. With a heart-felt passion for empowering others to embrace their authenticity, Cynthia leads by example through her own embodiment work and keen sense for self-expression. Mindful of the ever-changing moments in her life, she thrives to capture the essence of every place and every person she encounters with the utmost attention to detail, reminding others to find joy in the little things. A lover of nature, collector of crystals and plants, and avid fan of travel and adventure, she has a zest for working alongside natural beauty, finding herself currently residing in NWA now for the very same reasons.

Since 2012, she has always had a camera in her hand. In 2016, she funded her own art space, Transcendence Crystal & Art Collective, a hybridized gallery showcasing nature’s finest hand-picked minerals alongside talented local artists sourced throughout Oklahoma and beyond. Cynthia gained newfound appreciation for the diversity of culture, community, and collaboration through her business and moved on in 2018 to serve bigger organizations such as RAW Artists and Art Con with photography and visual production.

In 2019, she founded Women & Wildlife, an innovative retreat and art project, promoting overall mind, body, and spiritual wellness, while connecting to nature through exploration, art cultivation, and radical vulnerability. Combining her artistic vision alongside therapeutic practices such as yoga, meditation, sensual movement, hiking, and art therapy, this experience has expanded across the midwest in various locations with the support of the community she has developed through her career and by following her purpose. The offering is a unique way to connect within and with others. She is dedicated to uplifting those around her and finds herself to be the connector of people from all walks of life.

Join Our Team

Back of House & Technical Coordinator, The Medium

The Back of House & Technical Coordinator will act as the primary production lead for all client rentals and will oversee all back of house spaces. This position will set up and operate media equipment for live events while ensuring optimum audience experience. The Back of House & Technical Coordinator will be responsible for organizing and installing media equipment such as projectors, microphones, video monitors, and sound boards, and altering the venue layout to enhance acoustics as needed. This position should have advanced knowledge of audio and video equipment, experience with lighting and filming techniques, stage and general rigging, and excellent troubleshooting skills while simultaneously working with a diverse group of incoming event producers at various skill levels.

Learn More

Founding Leadership

Allyson Esposito

Founder/President Emeritus

Jesse Elliott

Chief Strategy & Creative Officer

Jesse moved to NWA from Colorado where he served as the founding director of the Bohemian Foundation’s Music District, a 57,000-square-foot campus for the music industry in Fort Collins and co-wrote the state of Colorado’s music strategy.

Previously, Jesse was a full-time touring rock musician, songwriter and band leader, releasing six albums and performing live 1,200 times over a decade, from SXSW to Lollapalooza with his bands These United States and Ark Life.

Before music recaptured his heart, Jesse wrote books and speeches with economist Richard Florida, co-founded a community nonprofit at the University of Iowa, and helped film a documentary on water rights in southern Mexico and Guatemala. With his company Range Music Ecosystems, Jesse and his co-founder Dr. Bryce Merrill researched and wrote the music strategies for the city of Denver, and brought together international thinkers for the City of Austin, the Biennial of the Americas, and more.

CACHE is grateful for the consulting support of our community:

F. Philip Barash

Municipal Arts Alliance Lead Consultant

Bianca Montoya

Communications Consultant

Graham Stewart

Creative Calendar Liaison

Michelle Summers

Dance Events Consultant

Meredith Wagner

Social Media Consultant