Managing Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Michael A. Wise

Michael Wise returned to his hometown of Newcomerstown from Washington, D.C. after an absence of almost 40 years. He had been a musician in the U.S. Marine Corps and a Human Resources Manager for a private chain of luxury boutique hotels. He also had a successful home business, Almond Didier, working in graphic arts, photography, and website development.

Michael's love and admiration for the arts began at a very early age in Newcomerstown when he was in kindergarten and had a solo number in the school's holiday musical. He later saw a high school production of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and became hooked on the performing arts. Michael then wrote and directed his own adaption of Rumpelstiltskin when he was in 5th-grade. He may have been a little too much of a perfectionist at the time because mid-performance an actor forgot a line and Michael closed the curtain and made them start again from the very beginning of the show.

During his senior year of high school, Michael organized and instructed a Middle School Drama Club of 200+ students. He then went on to direct the high school's spring play, Send Me No Flowers, that same year when no faculty member stepped up to the helm.

While in the Marine Corps, Michael met and befriended Phil Clarke, who had been NBC's Mr. Keen Tracer of Lost Persons on its classic oldtime radio show of the same name. Mr. Clarke, then retired and teaching at a local college, mentored Michael for two years and featured him in two of the college's plays.

Later, Michael wrote and directed a successful musical revue for a filled-to-capacity 3,000-seat Marine Corps theatre. In Washington, D.C. he also wrote and directed several fundraiser events for two different arts organizations.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Michael went to New York City and auditioned for entrance into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was accepted but, at the time, could not assemble the resources to make the move to New York. He still cherishes his acceptance letter to the Academy but when asked about regrets, Michael says his only regret is not learning how to play the piano. He said he probably would have gone on to compose his own scores with the music that continues to play in his head.

In the visual arts, three of Michael's rare paintings have been featured on PBS Television, New Orleans where he is co-founder of Ariodante Gallery. Additionally, four of his historic photographs are in the September 11 Photo Project archived in the New York Public Library.

Musically, Michael joined a Washington, D.C. band after leaving the Marine Corps. There, he played 1st-trumpet and directed several musical numbers during a celebrated joint concert with a New York City band.

As for ARTSNCT, Michael began the groundwork for the organization long before he left Washington. Michael said, "To make a dream a reality, it must be built upon a solid foundation." It appears that Michael and ARTSNCT are here to stay and have many great things in store for the community of Newcomerstown and the surrounding area.


Board of Directors

 Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

PRESIDENT

Eric S. Spears

Eric Spears, a Senior Technical Writer/Editor at Human Solutions, Inc., has nearly 20 years’ experience in technical writing and information design in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. He currently works with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, where he writes about aerospace innovations for the NextGen Advanced Concepts and Technology Development Directorate. His information design work has received numerous awards from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Society for Technical Communications (STC), APEX, the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), and Writing that Works (Awards for Publication Excellence). Mr. Spears is also co-founder of the Almond Didier design firm where he was a partner and lead graphic designer.


 Photo Credit:  dimnikolov

VICE PRESIDENT

Andrew T. Wackerfuss, PhD

Andrew Wackerfuss is an author and historian based in the Washington D.C. area. He received his Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University, and where he has taught courses on European history, world civilization, and political culture. Dr. Wackerfuss currently teaches 19th century history while working full time as a historian for the United States Air Force. His published books include "Thus Spoke Zombiethustra," a work of zombie philosophy, and the forthcoming "Stormtrooper Families," about the personal and political lives of Nazi paramilitary soldiers. He has also published a variety of articles and book chapters on such subjects as German history, air power, and video game studies.