Gioia Michelotti earned her B.A. in Biblical Studies and her M.A. in Communication (Print-Journalism) at Wheaton College in Illinois, U.S.A. She especially enjoyed her interdisciplinary thesis/creative project that combined creative writing, theatre, and missions, culminating in the researching and writing of a full-length stage play, contextualizing Christianity in Cambodian culture. Several of Gioia’s articles were published in mission and theological journals. During her studies at Wheaton, Gioia minored in music (piano) and ethnomusicology, while choosing many electives in the field of visual art.
While growing up, Gioia traveled around the world with her military family, studying music, ballet, and visual art from prestigious teachers. She performed as soloist with a branch of the Rome Opera Ballet based in Livorno and Pisa, Italy. Throughout her lifetime, Gioia wrote stories and poems which were published in newspapers and magazines. She also wrote stage plays, which she produced, directed, or acted in. Gioia was also very active in school and community theatre groups. For many years, she taught drawing and painting classes through the community centers in places where she lived.
Gioia founded and served as Artistic Director and choreographer for Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre based in Pensacola, Florida, U.S.A. She also received a grant for her interdisciplinary arts workshops for children (integrating creative experiences in the five art forms) offered through the Pensacola Museum of Art.
At the present time, Gioia is Director of Cambodian Christian Arts Ministry (CCAM), serving as advisor and teacher at the CCAM School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In addition to providing a loving home for disadvantaged Cambodian children, CCAMS also offers the students training in academics and the five art forms (Khmer traditional and Western), as well as in Bible, Christian discipleship, and arts ministry.
While at CCAMS, Gioia has directed an evangelistic version of the musical “Annie” in English at a Phnom Penh theatre featuring CCAMS students. She has also apprenticed one of the CCAMS graduate interns, Lina Pao, to write, illustrate, and publish (through Fount of Wisdom) the first Khmer Christian children’s book entitled “Miknia’s Doll.”
Gioia has two children and four grandchildren.
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