Riley-Menz-lowJerry Menz Arts Scholarship

The Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship provides opportunities for talented youth to succeed at the highest possible levels in the arts by offering scholarships for the Park District’s programs in voice, music, theatre and dance. The Arts Scholarship is presented in honor of Mr. Jerry Menz, who served as Decatur Park District Director of Recreation from 1961 – 1993 and was a driving force in the creation of many of the District’s cultural arts programs, including the Decatur Park Singers, Young Park Singers, Greater Decatur Chorale, Best of Summer Stock, Storyteller Theatre, and the Park District’s dance programs.

During his tenure, Menz also served as a mentor to youth in the arts, including former Park Commissioner Chris Riley and his wife Karen. A Decatur native, Riley participated in B.O.S.S., the Young Park Singers, and the award-winning Decatur Park Singers. Riley continues his involvement as a local singer/soloist and in the promotion of the District’s cultural arts programs for youth.

To be considered for the Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship, artists are asked to complete an application, available below or at the Poage Arts & Recreation Center. Applications are taken for the fall/winter term and the summer term. Call 217-421-6648 for more information.

Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship Application


Youth Scholarship Program

All children grow, learn, and benefit from the arts, recreation and play! The Decatur Park District recognizes that financial assistance may be required for some individuals to participate in Park District programs. To provide equal access regardless of ability to pay, a Youth Scholarship Program has been established for qualified Decatur residents. Eligibility is based upon family size and income level. Awards are made without regard to race, religion, age, disability, or national origin. For details, please call Barb Kessinger at 422-5911.

Download the Youth Scholarship Form.


The Decatur Park District has achieved great success in all areas of the arts and is the only Park & Recreation agency in the nation to have twice received the NRPA Dottie Mullen Award for the Arts & Humanities.