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Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County Announces New Staff - A Grants Assistant & a Director of Public Relations join the Arts Council’s team

Miles McKeller-Smith
Kashia Knight

Fayetteville, N.C. – The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County has welcomed two new additions to its staff over the past several months and is informing the public of the strategic roles each of these individuals is now playing on their team.

On Jul. 17, 2023, the Arts Council hired Kashia Knight to fill a brand-new position of Grants Assistant for the organization. Knight is a U.S. Army veteran who also has four prior years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. As both a veteran and a child of a military service member herself, she is already well acquainted with military-centric cities like Fayetteville.

Knight now assists Michael Houck, Director of Grants & Allocations, and Sarah Busman, Arts Education Manager, in their management of the Arts Council’s many grants and allocations programs and the Artists In Schools (AIS) program.

When asked what drew Knight to her new role and the Arts Council, in general, she states, “I love the arts, because I’m a consummate artist myself; I love helping folks find the funding they need for their own artistic passions.”

Taking it one step further, Knight reveals she is already an ambassador for the Arts Council’s Grants Department when she shares, “The funding is here. All [artists] have to do is believe in themselves and apply, and we will guide them every step of the way to see that their vision is actualized.”

On Jan. 8, 2024, Miles McKeller-Smith joined the Arts Council’s team as its Director of Public Relations. McKeller-Smith is an alumnus of Jack Britt High School who went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts in Communications, specializing in media, from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. He then furthered his education by obtaining a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

McKeller-Smith’s professional experience includes radio and television content strategy. Eventually, he began to move into media production, working on feature and short films and running a magazine for creatives.

After moving back to Fayetteville, McKeller-Smith worked for the Cumberland County Schools before applying for his current position at the Arts Council, where he now supervises April Mata, Creative Manager, and marketing contractors.

McKeller-Smith expresses his sentiments about his new position when he shares, “With my background in communications and media production, I’m excited to be here, in this position, and to have the opportunity to tell the story of the Arts Council.”

“From the Grants Department to the exhibitions we curate to our Artists In Schools program, we have really good opportunities to educate the public and stakeholders even more on what a great resource the Arts Council is to the community, and in my new role, I want to focus on more ways the Arts Council can partner with the community, supporting and working with the artists who are already here,” McKeller-Smith concludes.

For regular updates on the Arts Council, please follow the organization @artscouncilfay on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and/or YouTube.




The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization based in Fayetteville, N.C. that connects our communities, embraces diversity, promotes individual creativity, advances economic development, and fosters lifelong learning through the arts. As the primary steward of public and private funding for arts, cultural and history activities in the Cape Fear Region, the Arts Council and the agencies it supports are known for the core values of excellence, accountability, transparency, collaboration, and innovation.

Grants, programs, and services of the Arts Council are funded, in part, by contributions from community partners and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural

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