Each month, The Center for Public Humanities interviews a humanities scholar or community member and asks them everything from why they believe the humanities are important to what they're currently binge-watching. We hope that our new blog series, Coffee & Questions, will inspire you, introduce you to a variety of people and fields, as well as create new conversations.
Our guest this month is Angie Settlemire, President of the board of the Grove City Art Council (aka ArtWorks). She is also the founder and director of Outta Theatre. Angie holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Grove City College. She also graduated from Mimeistry International School of Arts as a Journeyman Mime with a specialization in Directing. In 2006, Angie co-founded Tri-flections, an Imaginative Arts Organization, which performed and toured through 2008. During that time she also assisted with the choreography and direction of the mimodrama, Alice in Wonderland at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and at the University Of Hartford’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive.
Regionally, Angie has performed at the Barrow Theatre in Franklin and as a mime for Grove City Art Walk and Strawberry Days. In 2015, she became the GC Art & Theatre Camp Director, as well as President of the Grove City Artworks board. She plans to continue expanding her class offerings and to create inspiring, fun, family friendly student and professional level performances for the community to enjoy.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
I am currently the President of the board of the Grove City Arts Council, as well as founder and director of Outta Theatre in Grove City. The latter is my full time job. I teach private piano and voice, as well as theatre, mime, and home school music classes. I started Outta Theatre to bring the performing arts into Grove City and I joined ArtWorks in order to network and help build relationships and bridges that will create a larger more supportive arts community here.
My inspiration comes from both my passion for creativity and my passion for making a difference in people’s lives. I love to see a child light up with excitement as he listens to a new kind of music for the first time. And I never get tired of seeing someone go from being reserved and fearful to being full of confidence and life – all because they learned how to break out of their comfort zone to perform on stage. That is something that changes a person forever. Art (music & theatre specifically) brings out the best in someone; it opens their eyes to show them who they truly are and sets them free.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
The Grove City Arts Council (aka ArtWorks) started a summer Art & Theatre Camp 6 years ago. This is my 3rd year as director of the camp. It is a very large undertaking, but such an important opportunity for the kids in our community. It is coming up July 17-21, so a lot of time is focusing on getting ready for that. Last year we had over 80 kids enrolled. This year we are not at that number yet, but enrollment is still open, so I am hopeful that families will continue to take advantage of this experience.
This year we are offering classes in Creative Writing, Musical Theatre, Kids Theatre, Physical Theatre, Ceramics, Yarn Arts, Mosaics, Watercolor, Dance, Puppet Creations, Beach Art, and SENSE-ational Art for preschoolers. We are also offering an extension camp the week of July 31 at Grove City High School – it’s Wheel Throwing taught by Chris Bauer, one of the district’s art teachers. It’s an exciting time.
On top of that, as director of Outta Theatre, I am also organizing a 3 day Piano Olympics Camp in the morning and Singing Olympics Camp in the afternoon July 26-28. It’s going to be a high-energy, fun way to explore piano and singing technique.
Outta Theatre has been doing Kids and Teen shows regularly for almost 5 years now, and now it’s time to start branching out into adult theatre, as well. I would love to start an annual tradition of holding a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre weekend. We are holding auditions for our first Murder Mystery play on June 30 for ages 16 & up.
Why do you believe that the humanities are important to everyone, and not just people in academia?
Art is the most powerful way to open the door into unreachable places inside of someone’s heart. I’ve seen people who struggle with self-image absolutely blossom as they discover the freedom of creative expression. Art can help bring healing. It is about celebrating life, exploring ideas, facing fears, connecting people, embarking on adventures, communicating truth, and coping with loss. It makes us laugh and cry because art is at the core of what makes us human.
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you (hobby, skill, interesting story)?
After my first year at Mimeistry (a performing arts school in California), we spent a month in Switzerland for a mime performance tour. Afterwards, two friends and I decided we would hop over to Italy for 3 days. Those 3 days would make a great movie! We stayed at a monastery college in the middle of nowhere and no one spoke English. Two days in a row the monks drove us to the train station just in time for us to MISS the train. We had to wait a couple of hours for the next one. On top of that, the trains went on strike our last day and we almost missed the last one back to where we were staying. We literally had to run to catch it and then we had to guess what transfers to take because it was different than the original trip. In order to get to the airport on our last day we had to pay one of the monks to give us a ride. We also got sick while we were there and by the time we touched down at LAX – I had completely lost my voice and couldn’t make a sound for the next 5 days. It took weeks for my voice to fully recover. And that is only a little bit of the story.
What shows are you currently binge-watching?
I am in between binge-watchings at the moment. Most recently would be The Flash.
What is the worst job that you had while working through your degree and what would you tell your past self now?
My worst job was actually after I graduated from both Grove City College and Mimeistry International. I was trying to get a theatre performance company started with 2 other friends with whom I went to school in California. We all had 2 jobs on top of trying to get bookings and traveling whenever we could – we performed in several states, but not consistently.
I started working as a substitute teacher AND I worked at the outlet mall cleaning the food court and the restrooms. It was a temporary job, but I thought I had descended into the pits of eternal punishment. It gave me an amazing appreciation for all of those hard working folks out there who continue to clean those places so that we can enjoy them. And I could tell you disgustingly funny stories about that time! If I could jump in a time machine and talk to myself, I would mostly say “Suck it up! This is only temporary and it will give you some great stories to tell. We all have to do whatever it takes to reach our dreams.”
Check back next month for more Coffee & Questions. In case you missed Aksel Casson's interview last month, click here.
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