Summer Institute For Educators

Summer Institute for Educators 2020

July 20-23, 2020
Location TBA

Registration will begin on this page in April—watch this space for updates!

Summer Institute for Educators 2019

Identity, Belonging and Sense of Place
July 15-18, 2019
Metropolitan Arts Center

Free for teachers and administrators, Muse Machine’s 2019 summer institute featured teaching artists from internationally acclaimed Ping Chong + Company and the theme Identity, Belonging and Sense of Place. Pre- and post-institute activities were designed to provide rich experiences throughout the year to inform teaching around storytelling, oral histories, cultural heritage and more. Teachers attendees can earn 28 seat hours and/or three University of Dayton credit hours.

Enjoy these images from the 2019 Institute:


Both the institute and Muse-sponsored, pre- and post-institute curriculum workshops addressed relevant contemporary issues around community and culture. The following essential or guiding questions framed the year’s professional development series.

  • What does it mean to belong? How does a person develop a sense of belonging?
  • What is a sense of place and why do some people feel more connected to their surroundings than others?
  •  How does one’s sense of place impact his/her relationship(s) with their surroundings?
  • If place influences one’s identity, what happens when a person is forced to or must move?

Summer Institute 2019 Artist Bios

Scott Austin currently teaches theater, devising, and English at Edward R. Murrow High school in Brooklyn. He grew up in Syracuse where he began his love of theater, and eventually earned an MA in Educational Theater from NYU. He can be found on stage at the Magnet Theater performing improv or writing with the The Bechdel Group, a NY-based theater organization aimed at writing complex roles for women. He is happy to be working with team of teaching artists with Ping Chong + Company again.

Eric Aviles is an actor, writer, teaching artist and activist based in NYC. He has performed nationally at El Teatro Campesino, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Teatro Vista, The Magic and INTAR.  Through many roles, Eric examined the Latino experience in the U.S. He is the winner of the 2018 NY Innovative Theater Award for “Outstanding Original Full Length Script” and nominee for “Outstanding Solo Performance” for his solo play Where You From? What You Be About?  Eric has more than 15 years of teaching-artist experience working with youth and adults in schools, community centers and prisons.

Ping Chong is a theater director, choreographer and video installation artist. Raised in NYC’s Chinatown, he is a seminal figure in Asian-American arts movement and pioneer in the use of media in theater. His theatrical works bring his unique artistic vision to bear on major historical issues of contemporary times, and focus on bringing unheard voices and under-represented stories to the stage. In 1992, Ping created the first Undesirable Elements production, a series of community-based, oral-history projects, working with non-actors to explore issues of culture and identity. Ping is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two BESSIE awards, two OBIE awards and a 2014 National Medal of Arts.

Ryan Conarro is a devised theater maker, educator, and community engagement facilitator. As PCC’s Artistic Collaborator in Residence and Community Projects Associate, his recent projects include the interdisciplinary performance work ALAXSXA | ALASKA, and community project and podcast CIHA STORIES through ArtPlace America. His work has been seen at the Kennedy Center; La MaMa; National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian and Oregon Contemporary Theatre. Recognitions include: Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award; Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Individual Artist Award; and three Alaska Broadcaster’s Association Goldie Awards for work as a radio journalist and storyteller.

Vaimoana (Moana) Niumeitolu is a painter/muralist, poet, singer, actress and educator. She was born in Nuku’alofa, Tonga; raised in Hawa’ii and Utah and is based in NYC. She has been designing curriculum and facilitating education initiatives all over NYC and has led community-based art programs across the U.S. and internationally. She has directed and written over 20 educational theater productions with youth including, a production being performed at Lincoln Center in New York City last year. She has completed community murals globally, is the founder of a female music and poetry trio and has authored two original plays.

Various artists will interpret the theme of Identity, Belonging and Sense of Place throughout the year, using their art form. Related activities include the following:

Capturing a Sense of Place
A Photography Workshop for Educators
April 2, 4:00-6:30pm
Metropolitan Arts Center

This free workshop is a prelude to the summer institute. Well-known local artist Andy Snow will help us create a story about place and our connection to it through photographs. Click here for information and registration.

Making Art, Engaging Community
Residencies at Two Dayton Schools
Fall/Winter 2019-2020

A companion project to the summer institute will be a unique residency program with Stivers School for the Arts and Ruskin Elementary, led by PCC artists, starting in the fall. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and local funders, these residencies will explore the themes of identity, belonging and sense of place. Drawing from their significant personal and family experiences, students will be creatively mentored to create and use oral histories to shape original theatrical performances for sharing with the community during the winter of 2020.

Culminating student performances at each school and a public performance at The Loft Theatre will provide opportunities for families and classmates and the community to learn more about our neighborhoods through these oral histories.

Companion Book List

Muse is partnering with the downtown Dayton Metro Library to create a book list for students in grades 3 to 12. The books will be international in scope and appealing to teachers and their students, and emphasize stories of immigrants. Many of our Muse schools, including Stivers and Ruskin, have diverse populations with as many as 13 world languages spoken.

Ping Chong speaks about the power that comes from sharing our stories:

Summer Institute for Educators 2019 Sponsors

  • Jackie
  • The Mary H.
    Kittredge Fund
  • The Fred & Alice
    Wallace Memorial Foundation
  • The Frank M.
    Tait Foundation

Summer Institute for Educators 2018

Read the 2018 Institute evaluation report

Photos from the 2018 Summer Institute for Educators

Jazz calls us to engage with our national identity. It gives us expression to the beauty of democracy and of personal freedom and of choosing to embrace humanity of all types of people. It really is what American democracy is supposed to be.

Wynton Marsalis