Muse Machine: Connecting Students & The Arts
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Muse Machine: Connecting Students & The Arts

Muse Machine: Connecting Students & The Arts
Another Food Critic
Sunday, February 24, 2013

For many Dayton students, exposure to the arts during middle school and high school years is hard to come by. Tickets can be expensive, and show times can be hard to catch on a busy schedule. In Dayton, though, we have a popular organization to thank for many of these experiences: Muse Machine.

Muse Machine: Connecting Students & The Arts

For many Dayton students, exposure to the arts during middle school and high school years is hard to come by. Tickets can be expensive, and show times can be hard to catch on a busy schedule. In Dayton, though, we have a popular organization to thank for many of these experiences: Muse Machine.

Douglass Merk, producer and director of student programs at Muse Machine, said the program, which brings art groups to local schools and allows students discount tickets to area playhouses, is a way to bring accessibility to culture.

Dayton Local: How did Muse Machine get started?

Douglass Merk : "We were founded in 1982 by Susie Bassani.  When Susie moved to this community, she noticed there didn't seem to be young people at arts events, and she figured there had to be a way to turn that around. Initially, there was just an effort to bring buses and people to one particular performance, and that one effort was so successful that it sparked the idea that this could become a permanent organization."

DL: What services do you provide?

DM: "It started out of Susie's garage but grew very quickly when she started to work with teachers and others in the area. Muse very much does those kinds of programs, to give tickets to students and make sure we're providing audiences to the ballet, the Victoria Theatre, and all the different arts groups for discounted tickets. We make sure the students become familiar with the arts."

"We provide teacher training as well, so they have creative ways to bring arts into the classroom - or teach their own curriculum in other creative ways that might create "aha" moments in the classroom. We also work with partners and participants that are touring with other events for our own productions. We have a concert each winter and summer, and those are popular as well."

DL: What's the benefit of introducing kids to the arts?

DM: "Each piece Muse does is often done by other organizations across the country, but we bring all of those experiences into one place for the young people of the community. Regardless of who you are as a young person, we know we can benefit you.  Whether it's helping you understand something that wasn't clicking in school, or if you're someone who liked a particular art program but was never exposed to it in the first place, then that's how we can help you, because we can make it accessible. If you're someone who wants to get behind the scenes to see how these kinds of productions happen, or even if you get onstage. Whatever your wiring is, we can work with those students and do something for them."

DL: How can people help?

DM: "In all kinds of ways. There are only a handful of full-time employees; what we do is done through teachers and their volunteer base. People help us with anything from volunteering at the office to costuming. Two-thirds of what happens in our shows throughout the year is done through volunteer work. The easiest way is to go to Musemachine.com to find out how to donate, help and get involved behind the scenes."

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About Another Food Critic

Tristan Navera
Tristan Navera is a freelance writer from Dayton, Ohio, and foodie behind Another Food Critic, a blog dedicated to providing comprehensive, insightful and honest restaurant reviews.
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  • Directory Profile:

    Muse Machine
    Muse Machine provides creative experiences and programs for young people of the Miami Valley.