This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | Feb 2


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 this 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.

In a study released recently by the National Center for Arts Research, Missoula ranks 8th nationally in ‘arts vibrancy’ for cities under 1 million population.  For the full story, see the Missoulian article.

Picture28The 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.

The Missoula Art Museum presents the 2015 Benefit Auction, celebrating the museum’s 40th Anniversary with a Ruby Jubilee, on February 7 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom (auction item pictured here). Exhibits at MAM 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.

Picture29The 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.

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.

It’s also First Friday Gallery Night this week.  For the most complete line-up of gallery openings and other events, visit MCC’s Gallery Guide

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.

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.


The 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 Gallery of Visual Arts at the University of Montana presents Robert Schweiger: The Dakota Series and Selections from the Montana Museum of Art & Culture Ackerman Print Collection February 3-26, with an opening reception on February 3 at 5:00 p.m.

Radius Gallery presents Dear Heart, with an opening on First Friday and running through February 14.  Local artists have dreamed up gorgeous, funny and slightly twisted valentines with which to woo your beloved. Passion themed collage and fine-art pieces as well as vintage-inspired valentines to trade with your colleagues and friends.  See new works by Courtney Blazon, Samantha Dwyer, Susan Carlson and Pam Caughey.  Cupid-guaranteed results.   Plus love-punch and chocolates.


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

The Dana Gallery presents Big Fork Artist Dana Berardinis for the Month of February with an exhibit titled “Passage of Renewal.”  There will be a First Friday reception from 5:00-8:00 on February 6.  Also including new work by Caleb Meyer, Robert Moore, and Silas Thompson.  Call 721-3154.

Shakespeare and Co. presents Joan Bird reading from her book Montana UFOs and Extraterrestrials, at 7:00 p.m. tonight, February 2; UM MFA alum Sharma Shields reading from her debut novel The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, February 6 at 7:00 p.m.; Montana Poet Laureate Tami Haaland reading from her latest collection of poetry When We Wake in the Night, February 9 at 5:00 p.m.

The University of Montana Department of Music presents a Faculty & Guest Artist Series with Robert LedBetter, percussion, joined by Margaret Baldridge, violin, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall; Fusion: VI Concert in the Dennison Theatre February 6 at 7:30 p.m.; ‘A Springtime of Irish Music and Song’ February 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall, featuring button accordion player Danny O’Mahony, a visiting musician; Student Recital Series featuring Clay Kellogg on french horn and Molly Trindle on oboe in their junior recital, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall; Skylr Spraycar, flute, in her Senior Recital, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall.

Living Art of Montana presents It Matters: Mixed Media Painting Three-Week Workshop with Odette Grassi, continuing February 4 and February 11, 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.  February 5 – March 26: Cancer, Courage & Creativity: an eight-week workshop for men and women experiencing the effects of cancer.  Registration Required: email here or call 549-5329 to sign up.  On February 7: Fabric Fortune Cookies drop-in Saturday Workshop with Odette Grassi. 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  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 for 15 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.  For more information, call (516) 445-0767 or e-mail here.


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.