Executive Director & Board
The Olive Branch Arts Council consist of 11 Board Members and an Executive Director. The Long Range Plan of the organization continues to be consistent with the mission and goals. The goals are to be a center for information and resources for artists, art groups, and the public
My family moved to Olive Branch in 1969 when I was in the 10th grade. After graduating from Olive Branch High School in 1972, I attended Northwest Community College for two years. I received a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design in 1975 from MSU. I worked as an interior designer for eight years at an English Antique shop. I have been working for a custom upholstery shop since 1983 designing furniture until May 2010, when I started my own upholstery business "Dena's Personal Touch" Your Custom Upholstery Shop.
Vicky has been a member and volunteer with Olive Branch Arts Council since 2010 and was hired as Assistant Director in July, 2016. Her duties include managing social media, publicity, web administration and helping Dena develop programs to create a spotlight on arts in the community of Olive Branch.Vicky, a native of Ohio, has lived in the mid-south for 30+ years. But she has been a “Southerner at Heart” all her life. She currently resides in Olive Branch, Mississippi with her husband, Robert Neyman, 3 dogs and assorted grandchildren.
Originally from New Albany, MS, and an Ole Miss graduate in Graphic Design, Allison moved to the Memphis area to work in the printing industry. With over 27 years experience in design and printing, she makes use of her talents in other areas as well. Finding her "heart for art" late in life, Allison discovered a niche in arts and crafts and most recently hosting paint parties at the Painted Pigeon.
Marilyn grew up on a farm outside of Sallisaw OK where she attended junior college. After starting her family, she finished her Associates degree in Poteau OK. Marilyn and her husband David moved to Memphis in 1990 w she where she completed her bachelor’s degree in fine art at University of Memphis. Marilyn taught visual art in Memphis for 15 years until she I left teaching in 2011. Since then, Marilyn has been creating gourd art, beading, zentangle art, and painting at B J Chain library. She also participates in Yoga and aerobics at OB Senior Center. She has been a member of OBAC for several years and works at the Painted Pigeon Gallery on weekends. She has a son and daughter who are both married and are expecting their first grandson in April 2017.
Rita Schelly has been a resident of Olive Branch since 1986. She is married to John Schelly, who is retired from the City of Olive Branch. Rita is Vice President of BancorpSouth Bank in Olive Branch and works in their Community Service area as well as being branch manager and loan officer. She is active on several other community boards.
Rita has been a member of the Arts Council for ten years and has been on the board for nine years. Rita enjoys gardening, reading, playing with her grandchildren and making desserts. Rita has headed up the Dessert Theatre with the Arts Council and enjoys that very much. The Schelly’s are members of New Prospect Baptist Church.
Joanie Bergstrom is a Professor of Higher and Postsecondary Education and was a Curriculum Manager for business and IT courses until mid-2015 when she stopped working to fight (and win) a battle with cancer. Joanie has always had a passion for her community and has been an avid supporter of anything that brings people in the community together. With more time on her hands, Joanie decided to open her own business, the Center for Skills and Knowledge, to offer opportunities to do just that.
As a detail-focused person, Joanie is comfortable teaching courses on topics such as Excel, Critical Thinking, and Personal Financial Management, but when it comes to art she considers herself a student. Then again, Joanie has always had a great appreciation for the arts and considers it a great honor to be able to give her time and use her abilities to support the Art Council and the Olive Branch Community.
Peggy Henderson grew up in Wilm, Delaware and attended the University of Delaware. She flew as a flight attendant for an international charter airline, then moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked as a travel agent and met her husband, David. They lived and worked in Lynchburg, Va. and Tulsa, Oklahoma before moving back to the D.C. area with their daughter, Marcail.
Peggy was a Girl Scout leader for six years and worked actively in her church, schools, and the community while her husband worked as a public affairs consultant.
Peggy and her husband retired after living in Northern Va. for 33 years and moved to Olive Branch in the fall of 2007 along with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandson.
Peggy is active with the Republican Women DeSoto Area (RWDA) and the Olive Branch Arts Council.
Doris Thompson is Marketing Coordinator for DeSoto County Tourism. She began working for IRS October 1963 and transferred to Memphis, TN 1972, where she was a Section Chief, Department Manager and Lead Instructor. Doris retired from IRS in October 2006. Doris has been a resident of Olive Branch since 1999. Doris is a past President of ‘American Women’s Association’. In 1980, she was the Memphis Belles Chapter “Woman of the Year”. She also is a Competent Toastmaster and a Past President. In 2005, Doris was a recipient of the Department of Treasury's Training ‘APEX’ award (Achievement of Professionalism and Excellence). She began working for DeSoto County Tourism in 2007. Doris is the widow of Bill Thompson and the mother of two wonderful stepdaughters. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Olive Branch.
Kayleigh is a recent graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. She is Vice President of The Painted Pigeon Art Gallery.
Kayleigh was one of the counselors of the recent OBAC Art Camps and is artistic in many ways. She has performed at DeSoto Family Theatre and Theatre Works. Kayleigh has a passion for Ballroom Dancing. She has competed and won many awards and now teaches special classes.
Needlework crafts has been my passion since my Aunt Aggie taught me to embroider as a child. After retirement a few years ago, I decided I needed to learn to draw to be able to design my own patterns.
After some lessons from very talented artists, and support from artist friends, I have been learning all I can about drawing and painting and have tried every medium I have found. At this point, oil painting is my main focus and mixing colors fascinates me. I have found a new passion.
Lycia Callahan has been in Olive Branch since 1996. She moved her family here to allow her three children to attend the wonderful Olive Branch Schools. She has a heart for volunteer work and has served on the board for several organizations.
She is currently a member of the Desoto County Health Council. She has helped start community and school gardens in Desoto County and in the Delta. She has worked with Head-start and the Boys and Girl Clubs to promote healthy living lifestyles for the youth in this area. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and has a passion for the arts in this area.
Jennifer (Lewis) Lane-Watson graduated from Olive Branch High School in 1998. She went on to get her Bachelor and Master of Arts at Ole Miss. Jennifer is currently a pharmaceutical sales rep. She and her husband, Thomas Watson, have two sons, Charlie and Brett. The family is active with their business Pigeon Roost Apiary in Olive Branch.