Theater Alumna On Building Creative Community and Storytelling
Like many of our alumni, Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux’s (Theater 2000) talents extend beyond her Perpich art area. Since her days at the arts high school, Arrowsmith DeCoux has worked professionally as a storyteller at Scandinavian festivals, learned to walk on stilts, published poetry, performed in musical theater and recently received an Arrowhead Regional Art Council grant to work with David Braddoch to learn the challenging storytelling form of miming. With her husband, her adventures have included managing a hotel, moving to India, living in a yurt, raising their small child and their most current project, ARTHOUSE B+B, a creatively inspiring bed and breakfast in Grand Marais, Minn.
While Arrowsmith DeCoux notes that growing up in an artistic household was key in forming her future creative lifestyle, going to Perpich opened her to a world she never experienced outside of her hometown. “I had no training. I literally didn’t know where to find a monologue [for her admission review],” she remembers.
Once at Perpich, however, Arrowsmith DeCoux discovered “her tribe.” Coming from a rural community where “it is really easy to feel like an island as an artist,” she found herself immersed in an environment where instructors and students were supportive, and where the most important thing was “being creative.” This pushed her to keep exploring how to make a living creatively when her post-Perpich time at a theater program didn’t fit with her interest in the art area. She notes that if she “had just gone to my regular high school and had been brave enough to audition to theater programs, I would have felt like I didn’t fit in and thought that wasn’t me.” Luckily, she knew better because of her experience at Perpich and kept at it.
See Arrowsmith DeCoux in action as a storyteller in “The Good Dog & the Naughty Day,” her adaptation of an Aesop’s fable below.
The yearning to have the same sort of creative community she experienced at Perpich was one that sticks with her today. She has done so by hosting writing retreats and creative workshops and by creative couching other artists. She is also able to keep up with her many projects by staying in contact with friends over the phone, doing “check-ups” to keep one another motivated in their creative processes. She suggests that future Perpich grads “find and cultivate a creative community that works for you,” and to not lose hope if the first people you come in contact with creatively do not fit.
Ever creative community-minded, Arrowsmith DeCoux encourages those interested in learning more about storytelling as an art form to get in touch with her. For those traveling up north, she says, “I just love people from arts high! If you are in Grand Marais, stop by!”