FAFO's mission is to promote the Fine Arts and enhance art education within our community.
We achieve this primarily by putting on Ocala's Symphony Under The Stars each Mother's Day and the Ocala Arts Festival each October. We also impact our community through scholarships and the support of community art initiatives.
F.A.F.O. began in 1966 with a group of community members who wanted to bring art to Marion County. Since then, it has been putting on the annual Arts Festival and — since 1988 — the Symphony Under The Stars.
Prior to joining FAFO, Ashley worked in education and the construction industry. She is excited to be part of FAFO as she has a true passion for Ocala, the arts, and the growth of both.
Ashley has a Bachelor’s in Business Mgmt with a minor in Marketing and Accounting, and a Master’s in Education Leadership.
She was born and raised in Florida and has a true love for Florida life. She loves meeting new people, participating in community events, and supporting local artists.
Billye Mallory is a graduate of the University of Florida. A Marion County native, she has been involved with the Ocala Civic Theatre and Performing Arts Conservatory. Billye enjoys attending local events and spending most of her time in downtown Ocala, where she lives with her two daughters.
Prior to moving to Ocala in 2010, Jena Brooks lived in Tallahassee and was employed by the state of Florida for nearly 20 years. She was most recently Director of the Office of Greenways & Trails and oversaw the management of the Cross Florida Greenway. Prior to that, she served as Chief Cabinet Aide to the Florida Commissioner of Education, and held positions within the Departments of Insurance, State and the Florida Senate. Jena has been on the FAFO Board since 2014.
David Hooper is Vice President of Commercial Services with Florida Credit Union in Ocala. He has been in the Banking Industry for many years. David is a graduate of West Virginia University, and has lived in Ocala since 2016. He has been active in a number of non-profit and charitable organizations
Charlita Whitehead has called Florida home since 2006. She is a graduate of the College of Central Florida and the University of Central Florida. Charlita works as an Information Security Officer serving five hospitals and multiple ancillary facilities in the Greater Orlando area. Her passion for empowering marginalized communities is a driving force in her life. She loves art, spending time outdoors, travel, new experiences, quality time with friends and family, and her very good dog Aucilla.
Katrina Neumann has been a resident of Ocala since 2011, holds a Master's degree in accounting from Saint Leo University and is wife to local artist Ryan Neumann. With extensive experience working for the government/private sector, her ambitions lie in applying her knowledge where it is needed. As a spectator of the growing art community, she’s found herself becoming more directly involved. As a FAFO board member, she looks forward to giving back to a community that has inspired her so much.
Emily Andrews was born and raised in Ocala (third-generation) She participated in programs such as Leadership Ocala/Marion Youth and NJHS/NHS. She returned to Ocala after graduating from FSU (Go Noles!) in 2019 with her Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. She served as president for the Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XXXIII and is an active member of Ocala's CEP. She currently works as Customer Experience Director at her family’s dog daycare and lodging business, Red Fern Pet Lodge.
Teddy Sykes is a local artist and IT professional who has lived in the Ocala area most of his life. Having attended most every FAFO event from a young age to the present, he is excited to be a member of the FAFO Board. Teddy is a huge supporter of the local arts and music scene and most of his free time is spent downtown attending or being involved in events.
Resident Artist of Magnolia Art Xchange,
Ryan Andrew Neumann
is an award-winning visual artist living & working in the Ocala area, while studying Art History at UCF. Neumann first studied sound engineering at SAE Institute of Technology in NY City & later Fine Art at CF, where his work can be found in the permanent collection. Artist member of the Marion Cultural Alliance & former member of the Visual Artist’s Society. Recent achievements include being one of last year’s FAFO Emerging Artist.
After working in tech for 12 years, Beth now works with her husband, Craig, at The Cannon Law Firm. Prior to joining FAFO’s board, Beth served on several boards in the community. She co-chaired FAFO's festival for several years and then was its president for three years. Beth and Craig have two children, Alice and Harris.
Sondra A. W. Collins is currently in her thirteenth year of teaching music in Marion County Public Schools, the last seven of which have been with the Shady Hill family at Shady Hill Elementary, in Ocala. Sondra currently serves as the Chairperson of the Awards Committee on the Board of Directors of the Florida Music Education Association. She also serves on the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee and the Conference Planning Committee of the Florida Music Education Association.
Sarah Cone has been in Florida since 2018 and moved to Ocala in 2022. She was born in Greenville, South Carolina where she was raised to have a deep passion and hunger for the arts, creativity, and all things handmade. Sarah has been, among many other things, an artisan for 15+years. In 2023, she opened Brick City Market, an online and pop-up shop that sources local artisan goods. Sarah is married to Douglas Cone, III, and they have the cutest cat in the world, Charlie.
Michaela Gardner is a native Canadian. As a young adult, she was a piano/voice teacher and pre-professional dancer of Marion Ballet Theatre. At 18 she purchased her first dance studio and after 10 successful years, Michaela brought her passion to Ocala with Devotions Dance Company. With a strong background in dance and an entrepreneurial spirit, she continues to make a positive impact in the world of dance and in the Ocala Metro community.
Brooke Hutto is a new member of the board and has been a resident of Marion County since 2010. She is a graduate from Stetson University and has been a music educator for the past 15 years, currently teaching at Harbour View Elementary. She also serves as the President of the Marion County Music Association. She is married to David Hutto, a fellow educator, and is the mother of two incredible children, Amelia and Keaton. In her free time, Brooke enjoys reading and a good cup of tea.
Rob Jordan has lived in Ocala since the age of four. He graduated from Forest High and the University of Florida. Rob has taught English at Belleview High for the last 20 years. He enjoys traveling, photography, golfing, the Gators and, of course, art
Carley is a new resident of Ocala. She avidly enjoys and celebrates the arts. As a first grade teacher Carley uses the arts in her classroom in creative ways to engage and inspire her students. Prior to moving to Ocala in 2021, Carley lived and taught in Atlantic Beach. She graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelors of Science in Education in 2019. Recently, Carley received her Masters from Florida Southern College. Carley is passionate about the Ocala community.
Dawn rejoined FAFO's board in 2022. She is the owner of Party Time Rentals and Dawn Lovell Design.
Buff Moring has been a FAFO Board member since 2012. In her career as a Guardian ad Litem, she has witnessed the tremendous potential of art as a healing tool for abused children, and how powerful art and music are for all children.
Maureen Powell moved to Ocala from Pennsylvania eight years ago looking to get away from the cold northern winters. She has been a member of the Junior League of Ocala for the last 2 years. She lives in Ocala with her two adorable Chihuahua puppies and enjoys being out in nature, art of all kinds, and a good book.
David Reutter is the Registrar at the Appleton Museum of Art. In his free time he does distance running and sprint triathlons.
Chona has lived in Ocala for 19 years. She has a BA in early childhood education. Her enjoyment of early childhood is being used in her current position at the local library in the children’s division. Chona has been in Junior League for 2 years. She is also on the covenant mission team with Blessed Trinity. She is married to Parish and they have three children Ethan, Skylar, and Alice and a dog named Sandy. Chona
enjoys a good book, spending time with family and friends, kayaking an traveling.
Michelle Wetz has lived in Florida most of her life. A graduate of North Marion High, she earned her Bachelor’s degree at UCF and her Master’s degree at St. Leo University. She has been a teacher in Marion County for the past 26 years and is currently the art teacher at Madison Street Academy. Experience with FAFO as a student, then as a parent with daughter’s art, and now with students’ artwork. She enjoys giving back to our community by serving as a board member of FAFO.
Hannah Whitston was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. She moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida in 2011 to pursue her Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Hannah is currently the music teacher at Madison Street Academy and was a Marion County Golden Apple Academy Finalist in 2022. She lives in Ocala with her husband, son & dog. They enjoy cooking, eating, fishing, and participating in their church worship team together. Hannah has been on the FAFO Board since Spring 2021
Sagi was on FAFO's board for nearly 30 years and continues to participate on its investment committee. She has been instrumental in FAFO's success. She is an avid supporter of the arts in Ocala.