Muse Machine one of three Ohio arts education groups to receive NEA CARES Act grant

Arts education organization inspires preschool literacy

Credit: Danielle Naples

Credit: Danielle Naples

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Muse Machine a $50,000 grant as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Muse Machine is the only Dayton region arts organization — and one of only three arts education organizations in Ohio — selected to receive a CARES Act grant.

Support from the CARES Act grant will help provide learning opportunities for preschool students over the next two years. Muse plans to partner with Preschool Promise to reach its youngest students.

Organizers say preschool children particularly thrive during active learning experiences, blending curricular lessons with movement, speaking, singing and interactivity. The grant allows local artists to build literacy skills while having fun with children through experiences utilizing creative materials that will be sent to families each month.

“When I walk into a preschool classroom, I know I am with the super communicators of the world,” said Mary Campbell Zopf, Muse Machine Executive Director. “These young learners use every skill and emotion they possess to connect and show you what they know. After decades of work in preschools, I recognize that the arts are the golden key to engaging a child’s curiosity — the bedrock to lifelong learning. This NEA award allows Muse and its preschool partners to continue working with many of our brightest, creative learners who also face many challenges in their lives. In a year like no other, these young children need to sing, dance, draw, play with words, tell stories and fall in love with books. For this generation, this is the essential work we must do. Joyful learning is always needed.”

Grant recipients were selected from more than 3,100 eligible applicants, based on criteria that include artistic excellence and the extent to which underserved populations are served. Awardees represent the diverse nature of arts organizations across the country.

About the Author