Teaching artist Ryan Conarro of Ping Chong + Company works alongside Muse Machine teachers. CONTRIBUTED

Dayton’s Muse Machine just received a $20K grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Muse Machine, providing arts-integrated, curriculum-based programming for students in grades PreK-12, is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA announced grant recipients last month and the Muse was selected as the only arts education recipient in Ohio.

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The grant supports the project “Making Art, Engaging Community,” which joins internationally acclaimed theater company Ping Chong + Company and talented local artists for an eight-week residency program at Stivers School for the Arts and Ruskin Elementary in Dayton. The residencies particularly will explore the themes of identity, belonging and sense of place. Drawing from their personal and family experiences, students, representing a changing demographic in Dayton considering there are as many as 13 languages being spoken in local schools, will be creatively mentored to use oral histories to create original theatrical performances to be presented during winter 2020.

The ABBA blockbuster "Mamma Mia!," the Muse Machine's 35th annual musical featuring over 130 students from across the Miami Valley, is slated Jan. 10-13 at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED/BEN MORRISON

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from the NEA,” said Executive Director Mary Campbell Zopf. “This project was recognized for its potential to celebrate cultural heritage, enrich humanity and build community. These artists love to work with culturally and linguistically rich communities and help students develop a mutual respect for the lives that everyone brings to school each day.”

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“The arts enhance our communities and our lives,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate.”

The project is also supported by funding from Allegro Fund of the Dayton Foundation, Iddings Foundation and Vectren Foundation.

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Founded in 1982, Muse Machine is a nationally recognized arts education organization, providing creative experiences and resources for young people throughout central and southwestern Ohio and Kentucky. The organization has changed the lives of thousands of students through academic programs and student performances, most recently an incredibly entertaining production of “Mamma Mia!”

For more information, visit musemachine.com.

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