Arts Center Staff

Melissa Griffin was born and raised in Tangipahoa Parish. She holds a degree in Communication from Southeastern Louisiana University. Over the years, she has pursued professional development opportunities—through classes and mentors—to further her education and understanding of her passion: nonprofit marketing and management. She’s volunteered and supported organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, Loaves of Fishes Soup Kitchen, Children of Destiny and 90.9 FM KSLU. Melissa’s career path has taken her to locations across southern parts of the U.S. and allowed her to hold many different positions, including radio producer, downtown event coordinator, business development and marketing manager and even executive director of the Hammond Regional Arts Center (2011-2013). Melissa returns to HRAC with a renewed passion for her hometown community and looks forward to the challenges of managing an organization that contributes to enriching people’s lives through culture and the arts. Melissa, her husband Josh and their two young sons are happy to be back home in Hammond.

Tara Bennett is the Media Coordinator for the Hammond Regional Arts Center. A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Ms. Bennett has worked extensively in the theatre department as an actor, makeup designer and publicist. In 2012, she obtained her Master’s degree in Organizational Communication, focusing on news media and social media. Since accepting her position in April 2014, Ms. Bennett has applied her extensive education to modern technologies to increase the HRAC presence in print, radio and online media. In her spare time, Ms. Bennett is an involved member of the Hammond arts community as an active alum of Southeastern’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, serving on the board for the Hammond Horror Festival and dancing as a member of Jelly Jelly Not Jam Belly Dance.

Dakota Dupree is the bookkeeper for the Hammond Regional Arts Center. He is a graduate student at Southeastern Louisiana University, seeking his MBA. Dakota loves to spend his free time watching sports and movies and hanging out with his friends and family.



Board of Directors

Jordan Kenning (Board President)

Jordan Kenning is a Studio Art and Art History Educator from Lockport, LA. From a very young age, he was heavily influenced by his mother Allison Comardelle Kenning’s extensive music teaching legacy as well as the painting and sculpting expertise of his Grandmother Lourie Breaux, who was a student of Henry Hensche. Jordan is one of the early graduates from Southeastern’s Art History, Theory, and Criticism concentration launched by the illustrious Dr. Irene Nero. He began studying the relationships between art, architecture, and automotive design while traveling throughout Europe and especially while in Germany; these relationships continue to be a main intellectual interest. Currently, Jordan teaches Art I-IV, Fine Art Survey and is the Visual Art Society sponsor at Loranger High School. If he’s not hiking or kayaking, Jordan loves to explore the Northshore with his wife (also named Jordan) and their son, Atticus. 

Jeffrey Talbot (Board Vice President)

Jeffrey Talbot has a B.A. in Education from The University of New Orleans and currently works at Audio Works Inc, a post-production audio studio in New Orleans. He has worked on countless radio and TV commercials, dozens of TV shows and movies, and has done sound design for many theater projects as well. Jeffrey also serves on the Board of Friends of Sims Library. He loves art, loves his recent move to Hammond, loves being on the Board of HRAC. 

Lauren Kimble Smith (Board Treasurer)
Lauren is a local CPA Associate Director at James Lambert Riggs & Associates in downtown Hammond. Originally from New Orleans, she came to Hammond in 2009 to attend Southeastern for her accounting degree. Hammond has since become her new home. Lauren has always greatly appreciated the arts and believes it is a vital part of our community. She wants to help promote the arts and grow its impact on our communities.


Seth Pevey (Board Secretary)
Seth Pevey is a local author and businessman. Originally from Shreveport, he fell in love with south Louisiana after attending Tulane during the turbulent “Katrina Years.” He has six published novels, and is married to lettering artist Lisa Pevey.



Pat Macaluso is an artist who was born in Kansas in 1948, and raised in Oklahoma and Kansas until 1963.  She spent her high school years in Alabama and Louisiana.  After graduating from Southeastern Louisiana College in 1970, she lived and worked in public relations in New Orleans, LA until 1974, when she returned to Hammond to marry attorney Ron S. Macaluso and raise their four children. Since then she has been active in the community in the arts and other organizations including Hammond Garden Club, Friends of the Library, Tangi Food Pantry, Holy Ghost Catholic School Board, SLU Alumni Board and many others. Macaluso was a charter board member of the Hammond Cultural Foundation, which later was renamed the Hammond Regional Arts Center.  She is a charter member of this organization and has served on the HRAC Board for several terms serving on the Executive Committee many times.  
In recent years, Pat owned and operated The Oak Street Gallery, presenting exhibitions of local and regional arts, while supporting the efforts of the Hammond Regional Arts Center. Macaluso’s career as an artist has included participation in many national, regional and local invitational and juried shows with prizes and awards for her work. She continues to create work and exhibit throughout the U.S. Currently, Pat serves on the HRAC Board and chairs the Gallery Committee.

Denise Tullier-Holly is an accomplished artist and award-winning arts educator. Ms. Tullier-Holly is a long-time member of the HRAC and a critical element of HRAC's community educator outreach. Ms. Tullier-Holly is a lifetime member of the HRAC Board of Directors.


Dana Goblowsky, as a former educator, is passionate about providing children in the greater Hammond area access to art. She believes art and art education are critical to an individual’s well-being and a community’s growth and development. She is the long-time chairperson and organizer of HRAC’s Culinary Arts Series. Ms. Goblowsky is a life-long resident of Hammond. She is the proud mother of a daughter who lives and works in Texas.



Shayla Kelly is a native of Hammond, LA. She graduated from The Art Institute of California San Francisco with a B.S. in Media Arts and Animation. She is a freelance artist and has worked for several small indie game studios. With a passion for creating children’s educational content and art education, she decided to further her knowledge by earning her M.A. in Art Education from Boston University. Shayla chairs the HRAC Art Education and Outreach Committee, teaches ARTisTRY Classes and private art lessons at HRAC, and advocates for the arts. In the summer of 2021, Shayla opened Underdrawing Arts & Crafts Supplies, a store in downtown Hammond that offers affordable supplies and skills-development lessons.

Carolyn Howard

Carolyn Howard was born and raised in the Hammond area.  Although her career path has been in the field of accounting, her roots are in the arts. She graduated from the University of New Orleans in Film in 2002 and worked on film productions throughout the New Orleans area.  She volunteered as a docent at the Contemporary Arts Center while in between film jobs.  After Katrina and changes in the film industry, she switched paths to accounting by acquiring an accounting degree from Southeastern Louisiana University.  She began working in public accounting in 2013 and some of her favorite clients are the non-profits she audits.  As a lover of the arts and the Tangi region, Carolyn hopes to be impactful as a board member since HRAC and its mission are near and dear to her heart.  She is passionate about inspiring the diversity and imagination of the next generation of artistic leaders in Tangipahoa parish and looks forward to celebrating the arts with everyone.

Pamela Bankston became acquainted with the Hammond Regional Arts Center by participating in their annual “Celebration of the Written Word” and attending events with her husband, local architect and previous board member, Chris Bankston. A writer in the community, Pam is the author of the Frizzy Frieda Books, a series of middle-grade children’s novels that use humor to cope with fitting in at school. Along with practicing as a Registered Nurse, certified in Pediatrics, she also writes a weekly social column titled #OhMyHammond for “The Daily Star Newspaper.” A native of Hammond and mom to Holy Ghost Student Brennan, what Pam most loves about the HRAC is their wide support of various art forms. Pam enjoys attending and participating in the center’s many unique events held throughout the year and writing about them! 

Eric Johnson
After 46 years as a librarian, half of that time in academic libraries in his native Connecticut, Eric W. Johnson recently retired as Library Director at Southeastern Louisiana University. He has been active on library and non-profit boards, including the Connecticut Library Association, the LOUIS Executive Board, the HRAC Board of Directors and Advisory Board, the Friends of Sims Library Executive Board and Upgrade Tangipahoa, Inc. He is the author of numerous articles on library services and co-author with Catherine H. Tijerino of Hammond, a volume in the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing that contains historic photographs of Hammond. Self-described as a frustrated art historian, he has lectured on art and collectible books at conferences, the HRAC and Southeastern. He co-founded the long-running “Let’s Talk Art” lecture series, which is on hiatus because of the pandemic. He collects art, Broadway musical cast albums, opera DVDs and limited edition books. He feels at home in used bookstores and art museums wherever he travels and is delighted to be back on the HRAC Board. He resides in Hammond with his partner, a retired architect and two cats.

Bryan Ehricht
Bryan currently serves as Tax Director at James Lambert Riggs & Associates. He began his career in accounting in 2004 and joined the firm as an Associate Director in 2017. His responsibilities include accounting and review services, estate tax and income tax planning and compliance and other accounting and consulting services.



Beverly Covington
Beverly Covington has been active in volunteer work in the community her entire life. She has lived in Hammond since 1980 and has participated in several local service and charitable organizations. She was a past Executive Director for the Hammond Regional Arts Center, serving from 1993-95. She holds a degree in Business Management from LSU, is a member of the Hammond Junior Auxiliary and serves on the Board of Trustees for the First United Methodist Church.

Dusty Cooper
Dusty Cooper was born and raised in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. He has been a photographer for 25 years and pursued fashion photography in New York City. In 2013, he received his master's degree in creative writing. Dusty exhibits at local galleries, creates music videos for local musicians and experiments with different photography techniques. He now lives with his fiance, Stephen King (not the author), in his hometown, where he is the Director of Videography at Anntoine Marketing and Design.


Lisa Pevey
Lisa Pevey is originally from Taipei, Taiwan but made Hammond her home after finishing her Public Health studies at Tulane University and marrying Louisiana native, Seth Pevey. She is currently the Hepatitis Surveillance Supervisor at the Louisiana Office of Public Health, STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program. She is also a hand lettering artist/illustrator and runs the popular hand lettering account on Instagram, NOLAlettering.

Contact Information

Gallery / Office Hours:
Monday - Tuesday: By appointment only
Wednesday - Friday noon - 6 p.m.
Closed: Saturday - Tuesday

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2974
Hammond, LA 70404

Gallery / Office Address:
217 E Thomas Street
Hammond, LA 70401



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