Muse Machine executive director retires


DAYTON — Muse Machine Board of Trustees Chair Ira H. Thomsen announces the retirement of Mary Campbell Zopf as executive director after an eight-year tenure, effective July 10.

She retires after a lifelong career in the arts—first as a visual arts specialist in the Dayton Public Schools District, followed by several years as coordinator of public programs at the Dayton Art Institute. Zopf joined Muse Machine as its executive director July 2014, after a 25-year career at the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) where she served as its education director and then deputy director. During her time at the OAC, Zopf advocated for arts education at the state, national and international levels and oversaw and contributed to significant publications.

Her love of the arts and began in early childhood and blossomed into a passion for arts education. Zopf graduated summa cum laude from Wright State University with a B.S in education. For 14 years, Zopf served as an elected member of the Yellow Springs Board of Education, while a resident there. She now resides in Springfield.

Among Zopf’s many achievements while at Muse are a few noteworthy ones including:

• Securing Muse’s first-ever grant for $20,000—and the only Ohio arts education recipient in 2019—from the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), after previous attempts before her; which resulted in another subsequent multi-year $50,000 NEA grant.

• Dramatically increasing individual giving and grant funding—including annual Ohio Arts Council operating support and program grants—as she actively participated in and steered Muse’s fundraising and development efforts.

• Ensuring that Muse Machine qualified for and received local, state and federal stimulus grant funding during the pandemic, thereby securing resources for staff to transition to virtual and hybrid learning.

• Bringing Muse Machine to national attention resulting in the organization being honored and presented with a $10,000 check in January 2020 as one of only 12 organizations selected nationwide to receive a Stand For The Arts Award (for empowering the community, building strategic partnerships, driving engagement via volunteerism and delivering creative programming) through a partnership between Ovation TV and Charter Communications, Inc.

Muse Board Chair Thomsen remarked that, “Mary has led Muse Machine through an amazing eight-year period of unprecedented challenges with undaunted professionalism, determination and energy. She intentionally orchestrated and implemented a strategic plan that focused on preparing this unique organization for sustainability, while never losing sight of the joy of inspiring students and teachers through arts-integrated education and professional development. That focus, coupled with her steadfast leadership through the pandemic in pivoting her staff to virtual and hybrid programming, has led to transformational change. Our board and staff are grateful to Mary for her passion and commitment to all of Muse Machine’s stakeholders and wish her a well-earned retirement. Mary has truly made a difference!”

About Muse Machine

Founded in 1982, Muse Machine is a place where imagination and inspiration meet teaching and learning. We envision schools transformed by the arts—every young person beginning a fulfilling lifelong journey as an arts maker, learner, audience member and patron—every teacher engaging deeply with outstanding artists, arts professionals and artistic work—every family creating vivid memories of shared arts experiences. Muse annually serves 154 schools, 600 teachers and nearly 77,000 students from preschool through high school in a 13-county area across Western and Central Ohio, Eastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky.

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