This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | Feb 9


The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival continues through February 16 at the Wilma Theatre, Top Hat, Crystal Theatre and Dennison Theatre.  For the full schedule of events, visit the website.

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 Thursday, February 19, MMAC presents an evening with Chris Comer, UM Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, with a talk entitled A View of Art Through Your Brain at 7:00 p.m. in the Montana Theatre in the PAR-TV Building on UM campus.

The Missoula Art Museum presents Kate Hunt: Recent Works through February 21; 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 (pictured here); Fifth Grade Identity-In A Box! through March 13;


David Morgenroth

Accomplished Missoula jazz artist David Morgenroth releases a new recording this week. Entitled “Verdant,” the recording showcases original tunes by Morgenroth and others. The album also features notable Los Angeles jazz stars Bob Sheppard on soprano and tenor saxophones, Chris Colangelo on bass and Joe La Barbera on drums.
The CD is available for sale at David’s website or at Morgenroth Music Center or Rockin’ Rudy’s in Missoula.

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.

Fire science and Native American education for youth merge with the performing arts in the CoMotion Dance Project’s presentation of “Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance.” The performance will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, February 10-11, at the Montana Theatre in the University of Montana Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.  Missoula County Public Schools will bus third- and sixth-grade students to the Montana Theatre to view student-only performances. There also will be an evening performance for families at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 11. “Fire Speaks the Land” is a demonstration of the partnership made possible through the newly launched Any Given Child Initiative. For more information call Kaufmann at 243-2870.

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 now through February 26.

radius-2Radius Gallery presents Dear Heart, 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.

One Billion Rising is a global art action that happens on or around February 14 encouraging people to stand, rise, and dance to break the chain of violence.  The Missoula community is rising with the rest of the world and we invite you to join in. Practice sessions to learn the dance are free and open to everyone:  Tuesday, February 10, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Missoula Senior Center; Wednesday, February 11, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Missoula Senior Center; Thursday, February 12, 6-7pm, Missoula Senior Center. This practice will be for men and boys only and guided by Michael Dean.  to learn more about One Billion Rising as a global dance action day, visit

Shakespeare and Co. presents Montana Poet Laureate Tami Haaland reading from her latest collection of poetry, When We Wake in the Night, at 5:00 p.m. on February 9.

Fact and Fiction presents Vegan Pressure Cooking with JL Fields, February 12 at 3:30 p.m. at F&F Downtown.

The University of Montana Department of Music presents  Skylr Spraycar, flute, in her Senior Recital, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall; a Concert – Sing me a Valentine – on February 13, at 7:00 and  9:00 p.m. at the Missoula Winery and Event Center, 5646 West Harrier;  Laura Matzke, piano at the UM Music Recital Hall, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Living Art of Montana presents It Matters: Mixed Media Painting Three-Week Workshop with Odette Grassi, continuing 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.  From now through 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.   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 now through 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.

UM School of Theatre and Dance presents Translations in conjunction with the Irish Studies program, February 17-21 and 24-28, in the UM Masquer Theatre in the PAR-TV building on campus, at 7:30 p.m. each evening. For more information, call 243-2849.

The Downtowbn Dance Collective presents Dance & Romance: Valentine’s Tango Night, Saturday, February 14.

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 Clay Studio of Missoula presents Ghost Date Night, Saturday, February 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m. $30/couple for Clay Studio of Missoula Members, and $35/couple general public
price includes materials, instruction, movie and pizza.

Triple Sec, with Bill Haffey, Edie Smith, Rich Brinkman and Scott Milner, perform at Draught Works Sunday, February 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Smooth vocal harmonies join with instrumental improvisations to create lively swing, bossa, ballads and blues.  Call 677-0717.

Tell Us Something presents “Adventure” February 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Top Hat, 134 West Front Street.  A celebration of the art and craft of live storytelling.  Storytellers from the Missoula community share their true stories, told from memory.  Call 546-3855 or e-mail Tell Us Something.

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.

Thomas Sayers Ellis, a University of Montana Creative Writing Program Visiting Hugo Fellow, will present a poetry reading at 7:00 p.m., Friday, February 20, in the Dell Brown Room of Turner Hall. The event is free and open to the public.  Sayers Ellis is the author of two poetry collections, “Skin, Inc.” and “The Maverick Room,” which won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His poems and photographs have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including “Best American Poetry” in 1997, 2001 and 2010, Callaloo, Grant Street, The Baffler, Jubilat, Tin House, Poetry and The Nation.  Call program coordinator Karin Schalm at 243-5267 for more information.

Local, regional and national speakers will address the theme of language during the University of Montana’s TEDxUMontana event on Friday, February 20, in the Dennison Theatre from 4 to 9:00 p.m. Speakers will include Missoula Mayor John Engen, Salish and Pend d’Oreille language school executive director April Charlo, climate change communicator Susan Joy Hassol, journalist Clay Scott, Missoula Symphony conductor Darko Butorac, Raptors of the Rockies director Kate Davis, former Montana Poet Laureate Sheryl Noethe, stop-action filmmaker Andy Smetanka, three-time State AA speech and debate champion Erin Johnson, and Drum Brothers member and solo recording artist Matthew Marsolek. At TEDxUMontana, video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection with the audience.  Tickets are $40 for general admission and $20 for students. Dinner and light refreshments are included. The event will not be available as a live webcast and tickets are limited. To purchase tickets, visit here or call 243-2858.

14879_fullThe Missoula Community Theatre is holding an open audition for Shrek The Musical on Sunday, February 22 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.  Please use the Main Street entrance. There are roles for men, women and children, from leads to ensemble.  There are no roles for children under 10 years old.  Audition times are: 12:30-2:00 p.m.-audition for children’s roles (ages 10-15); 3:00-5:30 p.m.-audition for adult roles (ages 16 and older).  Visit the website or call 728-1911 for more information.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre spring day camp is just around the corner with The Tortoise Versus The Hare…..the greatest race!  Open to all K-12 children, the camp is March 30-April 4th with one day of performances on Saturday, April 4th.  Register online here.

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.