This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | Jan 26


The Missoula Cultural Council is seeking nominations for the 16th Annual Missoula Arts and Culture Awards program. Established in 1999, the MCC Arts and Culture Awards demonstrate the importance of the arts as they relate to Missoula’s quality of life by honoring those who have made significant contributions to the arts community. Individuals and businesses may be nominated in five separate categories:  Cultural Achievement, Individual Artist, Arts Educator, Business Support for the Arts, and Cultural Vision. To make a nomination in one of the above categories, complete the one-page form found on the MCC website, by Friday, February 6, and attach a separate page describing the nominee’s qualifications. Application materials may be emailed to: the MCC office or mailed to: MCC Arts Awards, PO Box 7662, Missoula, MT 59807.

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture presents Art of the State: 120 Artworks for 120 years, an exhibition celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Permanent Collection, now through May 23.  On Tuesday, February 3, MMAC presents an evening with Brandon Reintjes, MMAC Curator of Art, on Rudy Autio and the Birth of Contemporary Ceramics at 7:00 p.m. in the Masquer Theatre in the PAR-TV Building.

Benefit Art Auction - Ruby Jubilee

The 2015 Benefit Art Auction, celebrate the museum’s 40th Anniversary with a Ruby Jubilee, is February 7 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom

Current exhibits at the Missoula Art Museum include Kate Hunt: Recent Works through February 21; Elizabeth Dove: Corpus of the Unknowable through January 31; Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts: Selected Works through March 2; Pat Zentz: Trio through March 28; Heavy Metal from The Collection, an exhibit featuring four pieces of steel sculpture by two accomplished artists: Ted Waddell and Manuel Izquierdo, through April 4; Fifth Grade Identity-In A Box! through March 13; and the Ruby Jubilee Auction Exhibition through February 4.  The 2015 Benefit Art Auction, celebrate the museum’s 40th Anniversary with a Ruby Jubilee, is February 7 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom (auction item pictured here).

The City of Missoula Public Art Committee invites artists residing in Montana to apply for a public art project to create art for Pineview Park in Missoula’s Rattlesnake neighborhood. Artwork should reflect one or more of the following characteristics of Pineview Park ~ Natural surroundings: native plants and animals found in the Rattlesnake ~ Recreational activities: ice skating, hiking along the creek, children’s play ground, dog play ~ Historically significant use of the land the park now occupies: Native American use, and previous use such as the the Poor Farm and cemetery. The Committee is willing to consider two (2) possibilities: 1. A proposal for the purchase of an existing artwork that also meets stated project goals. 2. A detailed proposal for a new work designed by the artist that meets stated project goals; For complete application information, please here.  Submittal deadline is Friday, March 20, by 5:00 p.m.

Missoula Public Library’s 7th Annual Writing Contest kicked off January 5.  The contest is known as an opportunity for writers of any age to see their works of short fiction or non-fiction in print, as all qualified entries are bound into book form for check out.  First place winners in eight categories receive $100, $50 for second place, and $25 for third. Writers have until 5:00 p.m. on February 20 to submit their entries in the format required.  Entry forms and rules brochures can also be found online here or call 721-2665(BOOK) for more information.

Picture24The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival runs February 6-16 at the Wilma Theatre, Top Hat, Crystal Theatre and Dennison Theatre.  For the full schedule of events, visit the website.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Montana is having its second annual Bowl For Brain Strong at Westside Lanes on June 7, 2015. This is a fundraiser to help create a better future for those impacted by brain injury through awareness, support, advocacy, community engagement, and the prevention of brain injury. We are calling for artists to paint bowling pins to then be auctioned off at our bowling tournament fundraiser. If you may be interested, please contact Nikki Robb at 274-7628.

Fact and Fiction presents S.M. Hulse reading and signing Black River, 7:00 p.m. January 30 at F&F Downtown.

Shakespeare and Co. presents Joan Bird reading from her book Montana UFOs and Extraterrestrials, at 7:00 p.m. on February 2.

The University of Montana Department of Music presents the Student Recital Series at the Music Recital Hall with Austin Sprenger, saxophone, on January 29 at 7:30 p.m.; and the UM Marching Band’s ‘Stadium Echoes’ at the George and Jane Dennison Theatre, January 31 at 7:30.

Draught Works presents Cheers for Charity on January 27, with 50 cents for every pint sold between 5:00 p.m. and closing benefitting Tell Us Something. Come by, have a few pints, learn the themes for the year, sign up to tell a story in 2015 and buy a poster if you like!

Western Union Swing Band plays at the Top Hat Lounge Tuesday, January 27 at 8:00 p.m.  On Wednesday, January 28 you Trio Noir plays jazz for dining and listening, 7:00-9:00 p.m.  Have dinner and dance to some of Montana’s best country and jazz musicians.

Living Art of Montana presents It Matters: Mixed Media Painting Three-Week Workshop with Odette Grassi, January 28, February 4 and February 11. Three Wednesdays from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Registration Required: please email Living Art or call 549-5329 to sign up. Open to people dealing with illness and loss including care providers and family.  All materials will be provided. No charge & art experience is not necessary.  On January 31: Paper Weaving drop-in Saturday Workshop with Bonnie Tarses. 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.  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. Living Art of Montana, 725 W. Alder St #17 (warehouse mall).

¡Pura Vida! announces the Winter/Spring Session of group singing with Josh Farmer.  The group meets Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m. from February 3 – May 12, with a performance May 15.  The group meets at Sussex School – 1800 S 2nd St W.  the Cost is  $200 for15 weeks of group singing.   ¡Pura Vida! is group singing for everyone! No audition required to become a part of this open, accepting, fun exploration of our own singing voices. Learn more about music and the power it has to transform our lives. Cost is only $175 if you sign up before January 20.   For more information, call (516) 445-0767 or e-mail here.

The Montana Repertory Theatre presents The Great Gatsby at the Montana Theatre at the University of Montana, now through February 7 prior to the national tour, which begins in February and travels the country through April. For more information call 243-6809.

Country Music Association “New Artist of the Year” nominee Kip Moore will perform at the University of Montana Adams Center on Tuesday, January 27. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m.  Country music artist Canaan Smith will open the show.  For tickets,  visit, the Adams Center Box Office and all GrizTix locations. Tickets also may be purchased by calling 243-4051.

The Missoula Community Theatre presents Clue: The Musical, continuing January 28-February 1 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.  It’s a production of silly situations, campy music, and a murder mystery that may be solved up to 216 ways. Bringing this popular board game to life are the eight colorful characters you know and love from the Parker Brothers board game.  Ticket prices range from $15.00-$21.00 and can be purchased online at here, by phone at 728-7529, or at the MCT box office (200 North Adams).

family_concert_homeimage-lgThe Missoula Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage on January 30 at 7:00 p.m. for its annual Family Concert, this year helping superhero Fortissimo regain his superpowers. The show, now in its ninth year, provides a unique opportunity for kids to learn about dynamics, rhythm, harmony, and instruments. This year Symphony Music Director Darko Butorac plays the role of musical superhero Fortissimo, whose superhero power is to rid the world of bad music. Unfortunately for him, (and the world in general), dastardly Dr. Dissonance has defeated him, the treble maker that he is, and Fortissimo needs the help of the audience. “The kids in the audience help by demonstrating their musical prowess while learning a little bit along the way,” Butorac explains. “This show is very interactive and fully engages kids, which really amps up their level of understanding.

Zootown Arts Community Center the 3rd Annual {mini} Benefit Show in March 21.  Deadline for submission is February 1. The gala event on March 21 will bring together Missoula’s creative community to celebrate all things mini. This year {mini} just got more mightier. Enjoy artworks now measuring 12″ square. Attend the gala event to fight to the last bid for your favorite and/or read the requirements below and submit your own work.  Attend the art opening on March 13 to get a sneak peak of the artwork, pick your favorite piece,and start bidding on the silent auction pieces.  For more information visit the website.

The Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre and the Shaanxi Performing Arts Group from China share the stage for a performance at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, February 7. Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre performs highlights from its “Destination Missoula” program that toured to China in fall of 2014.  Sharing the stage is the Shaanxi Performing Arts group from Shaanxi, China performing Chinese folk tales through their shadow puppets.  There is a matinee performance at 1:00 p.m. and an evening performance at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are available at the Missoula HUB 140 N. Higgins, 543-3300.

Aikido Missoula presents Classes for Beginning Adults, with a 4 Week Intro for beginning adults starts Tuesday, February 10 at 5:30 p.m. This class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m.   After School Aikido for Young People ages 7-14 meet Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:15-5:15 p.m. starting February 2. Call 549-8387 for more information.

The Art Associates of Missoula monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 18, at 10:00 a.m. in the Education Center of the Missoula Art Museum.  Maryanne Eikens is looking forward to sharing all about the beauty and strength of the natural world that she is able to masterfully capture in her limited edition bronze sculptures. All Art Associates meetings are free and open to the public. For more information please call Susie at 544-0891.

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 Bensen

Tom 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.