Arts leader ready to 'reach deeper' into region

Jo Ellen Aspinwall.jpg

By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, January 20, 2018

As the Arts of the Albemarle School of the Arts Director, Jo Ellen Aspinwall hopes to make the arts a part of people’s lives.

Aspinwall said her goal is “to see the programs grow in enrollment” and “reach deeper into the community.”

Aspinwall said she also serves as director of the Center Players, a performing arts program for children age eight to 18. She said the group currently consists of 40 students. The Center Players will hold a Winter Showcase on Jan. 26-27.

Aspinwall said the best part of any stage production is when the audience is able to see the finished product and “they finally have that connection.”

“I love that part,” said Aspinwall.

Aspinwall began her position with AoA in August 2017 after relocating from Charleston, S.C.

“I have been doing theater since I was 13 years old,” said Aspinwall.

Aspinwall fondly remembers her role as the evil principal in “The Little Red Schoolhouse.”

While Aspinwall liked the process, she said she soon realized she preferred working in all aspects of theater “behind the scenes.”

Aspinwall earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Georgia Southern University and her master’s of fine arts degree in theatre, directing emphasis from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Aspinwall has experience directing a variety of theatrical genres.

“I have directed a little bit of everything,” said Aspinwall.

A former high school teacher, Aspinwall said she enjoys teaching classes and directing. She said her position at the AoA is “the perfect blend” of both.

Aspinwall said she will offer an Introduction to Acting class for adults age 19 and up in March.

“It is for anyone who has been curious about what actors do,” said Aspinwall.

Aspinwall encourages interested participants to “experiment and see what it is like.”

The class also offers adults with the opportunity to “polish public speaking skills.”

Aspinwall said she has enjoyed working at the AoA with the patrons, volunteers and staff.

“There is a really dedicated, positive and enthusiastic staff,” said Aspinwall.

For more information about the Arts of the Albemarle School of the Arts, visit https://artsaoa.com/.