Students seek their muse through arts-oriented club

To tap into your creativity, the experts say you should follow your muse. Turns out, you can follow your muse and join a club that encourages students to get involved in the visual and performing arts.

Muse Machine is made up of members from across the Miami Valley, and the Fairmont chapter alone has 130 members this year. It’s been a part of Fairmont since 1986 and has impacted students greatly.

“Kids love it; they get sucked into it,” said Rebecca Templeton-Owens, the Muse Machine adviser. “Students get exposure to performances that other students don’t get to see – it helps their creativity,” she said. “Some graduating students have even gotten to perform on Broadway.”

As part of its mission to educate students about the arts, Muse Machine offers a plethora of workshops having to do with different forms of art throughout the year; opportunities to attend these vary depending on a student’s status as a Muse Machine member. “Find Your Muse,” one of Muse’s workshops, is available only for students in Muse schools, which in this area include Centerville, Beavercreek and Fairmont.

Like most clubs, Muse Machine does have a membership fee, but the $25 Muse fee doesn’t seem to bother most students. “It’s definitely worth it,” said sophomore Courtney Combs, who’s been in Muse Machine since eighth grade. “Muse Machine gives you a lot of experience.”

Fairmont senior Nick Lynch-Voris is also a longtime Muse Member. “The fees are not high, and every moment of smiling, laughing, dancing, singing and being with friends is more than worth the $25,” Lynch-Voris said. “Muse Machine is a second family anyone would love to have.”

Students in Muse Machine get to experience four in-school shows like Sogbety Diomande, who performed Sept. 23 during sixth period. The Human Race Theater Company’s production of Edgar Allan Poe’s Nevermore took place during fourth period on Nov. 11.

Members of the Dayton Opera will present OMG, It’s Opera at Fairmont on March 20 during seventh period. The fast-paced performance is designed to show students that some of their favorite musicals, cartoons and even pop songs have their roots in the opera tradition.

The last in-school show of the year will be Art and Science in Motion by the Dancing Wheels dance company on April 19 during third period. Dancing Wheels features able-bodied and disabled dancers, and Art and Science in Motion is an interactive program that demonstrates factors as force, acceleration and opposing reactions through the use of the Dancing Wheels Company’s highly technical wheelchairs.

“I’m so glad that we are able to bring all of these wonderful shows and artists to Fairmont,” said Templeton-Owens. “I feel the more art students get, the better citizens they’ll be.”

Many students in Muse Machine, however, are involved with the organization outside of the seven periods of the school day, participating in either the summer Muse show or the winter Muse Machine musical, which this year is The Wizard of Oz.

“If you don’t know how to manage your time, then doing a Muse show can get a little hard,” said Monique Cooper, a Muse veteran of six years and Fairmont sophomore. “However, I feel like I’ve learned to manage my time pretty well. I get a lot of homework done between rehearsals and the rest I get done in study hall,” she said.

Students involved in Muse Machine offer advice and their favorite experiences to anyone thinking of joining but having any doubts. “Do it. You’ve got nothing to lose,” said Cooper.

Lynch-Voris agrees. “My favorite part of Muse Machine is meeting all of the new people that share the same interests and don’t look at you weird. I have made connections and friends that will stay with me forever,” he said.

For many, Muse Machine is more than just a club – it’s an organization that helps them explore many of the opportunities that the arts have to offer. For more information about Muse Machine, check out the Muse Machine website,