Staff Highlights: Chris Curtis
We’re taking this time to highlight members of our staff of arts professionals to hear more about how they got here, what makes them tick, and what inspires them. Let’s get to know Chris Curtis, our Film and Outreach Manager!
What brought you to The Music Hall?
I used to act a lot in local theatre. In 2006, I was rehearsing for a play under the direction of Kent Stephens. On occasion, we rehearsed at his home shared with his wife, Patricia Lynch, ED of The Music Hall. During a break one night, we were all chatting about movies and I learned from Patricia that there was an opening for a Film and Outreach Coordinator at The Music Hall, so I applied and got the job! Fourteen years later, I’m still loving the gig.
Tell us more about your film background!
I’ve always been a movie lover. Star Wars: A New Hope and Grease flavor many of my earliest memories. Later on, my mother worked for a time at a video store, so I had a steady supply of VHS tapes to ingest. Then I went to university near Chicago and had access, both on campus and in the city, to a wide array of theaters and titles. It was around then I began to develop a taste for foreign films, art house/independent films, and cult classics. Ending up in my role at The Music Hall has been a great fit and a real pleasure.
What has been the most rewarding part of outreach initiatives and Innovation + Leadership?
Some of my most rewarding experiences have combined my Film Curation and Community Outreach hats. For instance, I have greatly enjoyed the events matching top-notch documentaries—about everything from food supply chains to seniors suffering from LGBTQ discrimination—with post-film panels that put together experts on the given topic from other local nonprofits. I’ve grown to love moderating these discussions and have learned so much from them. I’ve also heard from countless attendees who have appreciated the chance to ask questions of the panelists and engage with their community on the issues.
You write pieces for piano and act too, tell us more!
Through the years in my spare time, I’ve dipped my toes into music-writing and performing, acting and painting/sculpture—never sure which I enjoyed most. I’ve written incidental music for the stage and for small ensembles, even a bit for orchestra. I’ve gotten to act with almost all of the excellent local theaters and groups. Some of my artwork has been presented in local galleries. I recently dabbled in stand-up comedy. Currently, I’m really feeling the itch to get back to making visual art.