Creating Art and Literature at Missoula’s Poverello Center

Editor’s note: From time to time, we invite a representative from one of Missoula’s many non-profits to write about how their organization serves our community and how our community can, in turn, support our many worthwhile non-profit organizations.

By DEBBIE SAYLOR of the Poverello Center

Clients of the Poverello Center and members of the Missoula homeless community recently honed their skills as writers and artists to produce the first issue of “30 Days In,” a literary and art magazine that was released during the First Friday event at the Zootown Arts Community Center on November 4, 2011.

The project was initiated by Poverello Center staff member Jennifer Johnson, who originally approached the Pov as a service learning student last spring hoping to become involved with a poetry class offered weekly to clients.

At first, the project started as a poetry discussion workshop where the group discussed poetry written by published poets, but eventually, it morphed into a writing workshop where participants created their own original works. Once the artistic talent was unleashed, the group decided it needed to be showcased, giving birth to the “30 Days In” magazine.

The title of the magazine refers to the length of stay provided to a person seeking emergency shelter services from the Poverello Center, but this is about the extent of the Pov’s involvement with the production of the magazine. The artists decided they wanted to have full control of editing and producing of “30 Days In,” which provided them with the ability to shape the magazine the way they envisioned.

The November First Friday event was a huge success.

Nearly 50 people attended the “30 Days In,” release party at the ZACC which included excerpt readings from poems and essays found in the magazine.

In addition, art work was on display for viewing and purchasing, and local musicians performed for the viewing crowd. Artists sold original works and 20 magazines were sold to people who attended the event. Overall, the event planners were happy with the turnout and excited for the opportunity to debut the first issue of “30 Days In.”

Magazines are available at the Poverello Center for $5.00 and a copy for viewing is available at the Missoula Public Library. Anyone interested in learning more about the project can visit the 30 Days In Magazine website.

Photos by Jennifer Johnson of the Poverello Center.

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Debbie Saylor is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Poverello Center, Inc. She began working for the organization in August 2010 after completing a Masters in Public Administration from The University of Montana. She enjoys working with the hundreds of volunteers, donors, and clients that make the Poverello Center unique and effective in providing essential services to all who ask.