This Week’s Missoula Arts & Culture Scene | Dec 15


New Year’s Eve marks the 21st annual First Night Missoula, the community-wide celebration of the arts with more than 80 events and activities throughout Downtown, University of Montana Campus, Southgate Mall, Glacier Ice Rink, McCormick Park, and Peak Health and Wellness Center from noon until midnight on December 31.  Admission buttons are $15 and are now available at over 20 locations in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley.  For more information call 541-0860 or visit our website.

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture presents Amanda Browder: End of the Infinite in the Meloy Gallery (pictured here), and Vanessa German: Bitter Root in the Paxson Gallery.  Both exhibits run through January 10, 2015.  To honor MMAC’s 120th anniversary, the museum has published the first-ever guide to the permanent collection, The Art of the State: 120 Artworks for 120 Years. Learn more here


Kate Hunt: Recent Works through February 21, 2015 at MAM

Current exhibits at the Missoula Art Museum include The Art of Human Conflict Conflict through December 24; Pamela Caughey: Ubiquitous: Migration of Pathogens through December 24; Crossing the River: Hmong Story Cloths through December 24; Kate Hunt: Recent Works through February 21, 2015 (pictured here); Elizabeth Dove: Corpus of the Unknowable through January 31, 2015; Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts: Selected Works through March 21, 2015; Pat Zentz: Trio through March 28, 2015.

Fact & Fiction presents Gary Ferguson reading and signing The Carry Home at 7:00 p.m. on December 15; Sonya Cobb signing The Objects of Her Attection, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. December 20; and Ashley McKee signing Missoula Rabble, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. December 28.  All events at at F&F Downtown.

Shakespeare and Co. presents local author and runner Pam Gardiner reading from her collection of essays Going Deeper: Reflections on Challenge and Change, December 16 at 7:00 p.m.; and Tom Stockburger reading from Lucy’s Biggest Fish To Fry: A Husband’s Journey through his Wife’s Fight with Brain Cancer, December 18 at 7:00 pm.

Dunrovin Ranch in Lolo presents Days At Dunrovin, its first ever on-site/on-line book club featuring books about Western Women. We are honored to have author and University of Montana professor Judy Blunt serve as the on-site host and Diane Diane J. Hoffman from Princeton, NJ. to serve as our on-line host. Conversations with Judy Blunt and other authors will be broadcast via our web camera and include responding to questions from on-line participants. Call 273-7745 for more information.

The Hip Strip invites you to our warming station for the holidays, Located on the Hip Strip at 509 S. Higgins.  Each Saturday between now and December 20, you will have the opportunity to be dazzled by a local non-profits gift wrapping talents and warm up with some cider and treats. Each Non-profit will provide a unique and special gift wrap, for a donation of your choice, for each of your lovely gifts. Call 543-3955 or visit Jeanette Rankin

Dolce Canto will be singing at Draughtworks (915 Toole Ave) Tuesday, December 16 between 5:00-8:00 p.m. for the weekly Cheers for Charity event. The choir will sing Christmas carols and for every pint sold, Draught Works will donate 50 cents to the organization. Come celebrate the season with a couple of tasty beverages and support live choral music.

The Treasure State Chorale presents Spirit of the Season, a holiday concert, on Tuesday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Church, 217 Tremont St.  There is no charge, but a free will offering will be gladly accepted.

Tell Us Something presents These Dreams, Live Storytelling on December 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Top Hat.  True stories shared live, based upon the theme: These Dreams. Stories are true, told from memory, and last ten minutes. 9 storytellers share their true stories. Tell Us Something is an open forum for true stories.  Stories last for 10 minutes.  Tell Us Something is a celebration of storytelling, of the Missoula community, and of each other.  Want to tell a story?  Email here or call 203-4683.  

Winter Wonderettes continues December 17-21 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.  Wednesday-Saturday night performances begin at 7:30 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m.  Ticket prices range from $15.00-$21.00 and can be purchased at the MCT box office (200 North Adams), online here, or by calling 728-7529.  In January, the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s winter class and world premiere of Gulliver’s Travels begins for K-12 children. For tickets and class registration information, call 728-7529 or visit the website.

Living Art of Montana presents Holiday Social with Tracy Pohndorf on December 20 at 10:30 a.m. This Creativity for Life workshop is open to anyone facing illness or loss including care providers and family members. All materials will be provided. No charge. Art experience is not necessary.  For more information: 549-5329.

Radius Gallery presents Re-visioning Demeter and Persephone: A conversation with Megan Moore, December 18 at 5:30.  Refreshments will be served.  Call 541-7070


John Floridis presents his Peaceful Season benefit concerts Saturday, December 20 at the Crystal Theater, at 7:00 p.m.

John Floridis presents his Peaceful Season benefit concerts Saturday, December 20 at the Crystal Theater, 515 S. Higgins, at 7:00 p.m., a Benefit for United Way of Missoula County; and Sunday, December 21 at First United Methodist Church, 300 E. Main St. at 4:00 p.m. as a Benefit for Family Promise. There is no admission fee for either concert, but financial contributions to the organizations benefiting from the performances is strongly encouraged

A Musical Dreamtime Journey is an annual celebration of the season of lights and winter solstice throughout the region with a variety of world instruments and sounds, including: Didgeridoos, Ethnic Flutes, Bassoon, Saxophones, Drums and Percussion Instruments, Harp, Tibetan Bowls, Voices and other musical surprises. These special concert events are without applause, in the round, and by candlelight with Michael Marsolek and Lawrence Duncan of Drum Brothers.  The Missoula event is on Sunday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. – Saint Anthony Parish, 217 Tremont St. For more information, visit the Drum Brothers website.

Tennessee fingerstyle guitarist Bill Mize will be in concert in support of his latest CD release “The Back of Beyond”, an homage to his East Tennessee roots, at the Crystal Theater, January 10 at 7:30 p.m.  Call 829-0508.  Tickets on sale 12/19 at Rockin Rudys and Bill’s website.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre invites K-12 children to follow the intrepid space traveler, Gulliver, in his rocket ship to explore strange new lands.  The winter performing arts class is open to all K-12 children and begins on January 21 or 22.  This MCT original musical version of Gulliver’s Travels is also a world-premiere.  The original story was first penned by Jonathan Swift in 1726, with Gulliver ending up in the most intriguing lands including Lilliput and Brobdingnag, meeting up with the most unlikely characters-large and small. In 2010, the story was made into a major motion picture, starring Jack Black.  MCT promises its version will be just as unique and adventurous, with a dash of its signature twist.  Get ready for Gulliver’s Travels…in space!  Classes start either January 21 or 22 and are held after school on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  The cost to register is $100.00 for each child (a limited number of scholarships are available). For more information or to register, visit the website or call 729-1911.

Aikido Missoula presents Classes for Beginning Adults.  Discover the strength of a peaceful spirit in the New Year.  The 4 Week Intro for beginning adults starts Tuesday, January 13 at 5:30 p.m.  This class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m., through February 5.  For more information, call 549-8387 or visit the website.

The Montana Repertory Theatre begins its 2015 national tour of The Great Gatsby with a Gala on January 23 at the Montana Theatre at teh University of Montana beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Curtain time for the show begins at 6:30 followed by an elegant dinner and dancing.  For more information call 243-6809.

The International Wildlife Film Festival is now accepting submissions for the 2015 festival, happening in Missoula, Montana April 18-25 at the historic Roxy Theater.  Now in its 38th year, the week-long event will feature new and exciting films, special guests, workshops, seminars, field trips, technology sessions, product demos, parties and dynamic networking events. With 6,000 annual attendees, IWFF engages Missoula’s progressive community with dozens of screenings and events like the WildWalk Parade. A filmmakers’ festival, IWFF focuses on films and filmmakers, and celebrates emerging artists and the future of wildlife & environmental media. Our expanded programming welcomes all films about the natural world, from environmental and conservation films, to issue driven explorations of earth and its inhabitants.

For more information about arts events in the Missoula area, visit our website


Tom BensenTom Bensen has lived in Missoula since 1986, and has been the executive director of the Missoula Cultural Council since June 2004. He has directed First Night Missoula each New Year’s Eve since 1997.   He is a member of Missoula’s choral ensemble Dolce Canto, and enjoys being outdoors, whether it is hiking, biking, skiing, walking the dogs, or mowing the lawn.  His wife Susan works for Montana Public Radio, and their son Peter attends Hellgate High School.