The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) has been awarded a $100,000 sponsorship from PNC Bank. The award designates PNC as the presenting sponsor of MIM’s early childhood (birth to age 8) education programs and a sponsor of the MIM Music Theater, expanding the impact of music in the Phoenix community and beyond.

“We are grateful to PNC Bank for this generous gift when MIM, like many arts and culture organizations, must find new ways to bring their collections and programs to the audiences they serve,” said April A. Salomon, executive director of MIM. “This award acknowledges and supports the efforts of our education team that reimagined and launched new virtual programs this year. The critical funding PNC is providing will allow MIM to continue creating innovative experiences that achieve our mission of making music from around the world accessible to all.”

“Music is such a great platform to connect people, communities, and generations. We all find common ground through music, and through that common ground, we’re stronger,” said Cathleen Walker, PNC regional president and head of corporate banking, Arizona. “PNC welcomes the opportunity to support the MIM and we look forward to seeing it continue to expand its virtual educational learning opportunities and concert programs, while strengthening its reputation as one of Phoenix’s most beloved cultural institutions.”

PNC’s funding will support three distinct offerings at MIM that touch early childhood education. These include: Mini Music Makers, MIM’s early childhood movement and music class for children age 0 to 5; Musical Adventures, MIM’s genre- and culture-based class for children age 6 to 10; and professional development sessions for educators, with sessions specific to early childhood educators as well as those for all grade levels.

MIM launched virtual versions of these popular onsite offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing children, families, and educators to engage with MIM in new ways. Attendance for online children’s classes has exceeded 1,000 since April 2020, with several additional sessions planned alongside regularly scheduled online classes in 2021 due to growing demand. More online professional development sessions—helping provide educators with tools to bring arts-integrated activities into their classrooms—are also planned in early 2021.

The virtual education programs presented by PNC are part of a larger menu of virtual experiences at MIM that also includes virtual field trips for K­-12 students and memory care programs for seniors living with memory loss.

Additionally, this award will support the MIM Music Theater in 2021, showcasing both emerging and internationally recognized artists from a wide variety of genres. Twenty percent of artists performing at MIM’s theater are local to the Phoenix area.

After temporarily closing for seven months due to the global health crisis, the MIM Music Theater reopened in October 2020 with enhanced safety measures that require limited capacity. PNC’s generous support will help re-establish the MIM Music Theater as one of the preeminent music venues of its size in the country.

In addition to hosting performances by renowned artists, the MIM Music Theater introduces guests to emerging talents from around the world. It has been called “the best 300-seat venue in the country” by Grammy-winner Shawn Colvin. Each performance is an extension of the museum’s exhibits―showcasing the instruments, the people who play them, and the musical language we all share.