This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | March 16


The 2015 Annual MCC Arts & Culture Awards Luncheon is on Tuesday, March 24, at the Doubletree Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This year’s honorees include William Marcus, Director of the UM Broadcast Media Center and Montana Public Radio / Montana PBS, for Cultural Achievement;  Stephen Kalm, internationally acclaimed opera performer and Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UM, as Individual Artist; Karen Kaufmann, professor of dance at the University of Montana and director of Co-Motion Dance Project and MoDE (Montana’s Model Dance Education Project), for Arts Educator; the Downtown Dance Collective for Business Support for the arts; and the Missoula Children’s Theatre for Cultural Vision.  Tickets for the event are $25 each or $200 for a table of 8 and may be reserved from MCC at 541-0860 at our website.

The University of Montana will host the 2015 International Culture and Food Festival from noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22, in the University Center. The annual event is part of UM’s celebration of International Month throughout March. The theme of this year’s festival is “Big Sky, Rising Sun.” Festival tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 12. Ticket price includes access to all festival events. Food purchases are separate. Tickets are available at the door the day of the event or in advance from Foreign Student and Scholar Services by calling 243-6115.

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 March 19,  MMAC presents Special Tapestry Viewing Event, Le Joueur de Cornemuse (The Bagpipe Player) and Judith with the Head of Holofernes, at the PAR-TV Center, Masquer Theater at 7:00 p.m.

Picture1The Missoula Art Museum presents Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts: Selected Works through March 21; 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;  Theo Ellsworth: Thought Clouds through June 26;  Renée Brown: Profusion through June 20 (pictured here).  Four Decades Of Collecting: Selections From The Permanent Collection through April 18; Big Sky High School Art Club through May 29.

St. Anthony’s Parish will hold their annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Parish Life Center, 217 Tremont. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30 p.m. and there will be lashings of corned beef and cabbage to go around. Irish musicians and dancers will provide the entertainment. The costs of the tickets are $10 each in advance and for seniors; $12 at the door; and $4 for kids. Children under $5 are free. For more information, call 543-3129, or visit here

event913603Zootown Arts Community Center’s  3rd annual Mini Benefit Show is March 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m. This gala event brings together Missoula’s creative community to celebrate all things mini. Enjoy a catered dinner by Bravo! Catering, a performance from the ZACC’s Girls Rock School, a silent and live auction of mini artworks and miniature desserts made by Missoula chefs and restaurants, concluding with music and dancing.

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.

Fact and Fiction presents Megan Kruse, reading and signing Call Me Home, 7:00 p.m. March 26; and Nancy Jensen, reading and signing Resurrected Mind, 5:30 p.m. on April 3. Both events are at F&F Downtown.

Shakespeare and Co. presents Melissa Kwasny reading from her newest collection of poems from Milkweed Editions Pictograph, 4:00 p.m. on March 22; and Demetra Perros performing from her one-woman stage play Roots & Wings: A Memoir of Trauma and Transformation, 7:00 p.m. March 27.

The University of Montana School of Music presents UM Jazz Small Group, March 16 at 8:30 p.m. at Break Espresso, 432 North Higgins; Faculty and Guest Artist Series featuring Christopher Kirkpatrick and Johan Eriksson, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall; Faculty and Guest Artist Series featuring Anne Basinski, Soprano, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall; Student Recital Series featuring Alex Porter, Oboe, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall; Student Ensemble Series featuring the UM Symphony Orchestra, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dennison Theatre; Student Recital Series featuring Torey Learn, Tuba March 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the UM Music Recital Hall.

Living Art of Montana presents Cancer, Courage & Creativity: an eight-week workshop for men and women experiencing the effects of cancer now through March 26.  Registration Required: email here or call 549-5329 to sign up.
On March 17: Exploring Glass Three-Week Workshop with Katie Patten. Tuesdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Registration Required: please email here or call 549-5329; Creative Connections for Cancer Survivors: Twist & Shout, Dance & Fun with 45 rpm Records, Wednesday, March 18, 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.  These programs are 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. Living Art of Montana, 725 W. Alder St #17 (warehouse mall).

2015-03-16_1625The University of Montana Creative Writing Department presents Antonya Nelson on Friday, March 20, delivering “Strategies Toward Revising a Bullet-Proof Short Story” from 12:10 to 1:00 p.m. in McGill Hall Room 210. She will read some of her own work at 7:00 p.m. in Turner Hall’s Dell Brown Room. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information call Karin Schalm at 243-5267, email here.

Opening this Friday, March 20, is the Missoula Community Theatre production of The Rainmaker. This charming non-musical play about love, family, drought and forgiveness is under the direction of Greg Johnson, Artistic Director for the Montana Repertory Theatre. MCT is pleased to open this show on the first day of spring–a season of promise and renewal.  The Rainmaker runs March 20-22 and 25-29.  Tickets are available at here, 728-7529, or the MCT box office.

Dolce Canto presents “Journey Home” on Saturday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (202 Brooks).  Doors open at 6:45 PM. Tickets may be purchased at Fact & Fiction, Rockin’ Rudy’s, or via the choir’s website.

Manik Harum presents an Equinox Balinese Gamelan concert at 240 Daly Ave March 21 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.  Suggested $5 at the door.

The Starving Artist Cafe, the Missoula Folklore Society and Circle of Friends present Slow Jam, a session of tunes from the Celtic, Old Time and Contra Dance repertoire, played at less than full speed so they’re easier to learn by ear, most alternate Thursdays starting at 6:00 p.m. This is a jam, not a clinic or instructional session but it is appropriate for musicians of all levels.  Starving Artist Cafe, 3020 S Reserve St, Ste A, Missoula, MT 59801. Near the intersection of S Reserve St and Harve Ave W. Call 541-7472 for more information.

Picture4The Radius Gallery is presents Form to Action, an exhibit featuring the abstract artworks of five Montana artists. Each employs the visual language of form, shape, color and line distinctively and to surprising effect. We are immensely thankful for the opportunity to bring such fully conceived and expertly crafted artwork together into one energetic, expressive, multi-dimensional exhibition.

Missoula Public Library will host the Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau program “The Life and Times of Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music,” with Ed and John Kemmick on March 24. The program will be in the library’s Large Meeting Room from 4:00-5:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The University of Montana Schools of Theatre & Dance and Music presents Pippin March 17-21, 24-28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Montana Theatre, PARTV Center, U of M Campus.

The Art Associates of Missoula monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 18, at 10:00 a.m. in the Education Center of the Missoula Art Museum.  Peter Barberio, Missoula’s own music man and instrument-maker will passionately share his love for music and stringed instruments. All Art Associates meetings are free and open to the public. For more information please call Susie at 544-0891.

Picture3The University of Montana College of Visual and Performing Arts in conjunction with the School of Music is proud to announce the 2015 edition of the UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival which will occur on March 26-27. Festival Artists include: Barry Long (trumpet), Paul McKee (trombone), Chris Smith (drum set), Jon Hamar (bass), Steve Kovalcheck (guitar), Brent Edstrom (piano), with a special appearance by clarinetist Eddie Daniels (Friday Night) and more as a tribute to the passing of the legendary Buddy DeFranco. On both evenings, experience a spectacular musical event with the High School Best Section Big Band and outstanding soloists from the daytime events along with more musical artistry. There will be a ‘Celebration of Life’ on Saturday morning, March 28 honoring the late Buddy DeFranco. For more information please call Rob Tapper at 406-243-6889.

The Clay Studio of Missoula presents Spring Session Classes beginnning March 30 at 1106 Hawthorne. Call 543-0509.

The University Center Gallery at the University of Montana is issuing its annual art call for the gallery’s 2015-16 exhibition calendar.  The artwork displayed in the gallery comes from local, regional and national artists. The UCG is a nonprofit, dynamic, student-run space that allows students, faculty, staff and community members to visit and experience contemporary art exhibitions throughout the academic year. The exhibitions are carefully selected based on criteria focused on diversity in origin, media, content and style.  Applications can be downloaded online or picked up and returned to the gallery on the second floor of the UC. A $15 application fee is required, though UM students, faculty and staff may apply at a discounted rate of $10. Fees collected are used to support the UC’s art initiatives and to help provide student-focused programming and space centered around the arts.  The deadline for art call applications is 4:00 p.m. Thursday, April 9. Applications are available online here. To learn more about the art call, email Gwen Landquist, UC marketing and art manager,  or call 406-243-5555.

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 4 with one day of performances on Saturday, April 4th.  Register online here.

Preserve Historic Missoula will hold its annual Preserve Historic Missoula Night on Saturday, April 4 from 6:00- 9:00 p.m. at Heritage Hall, Fort Missoula.  The event will include food and refreshments and a silent auction featuring vintage furniture, clothing, books, and decorative items.  Three Cats and a Fiddle with Ellie Nuno will provide music.  Local non-profit organizations that focus on historic resources and landscapes will man tables providing information about their groups and answering questions.  Featured speaker for the evening will be Montana State Senator Diane Sands.  Senator Sands will speak about World War II Alien Detention Centers with specific emphasis on the detention center at Fort Missoula.  As the former development director at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, she worked to expand knowledge of the detention center and promote the preservation of its remaining physical resources at the Fort.

The International Choral Festival, KPAX-TV and Southgate Mall are presenting “Raise Your Voice,” a live on-air fundraising telethon to benefit the 2016 International Choral Festival April 18 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. The broadcast will be aired on Channel 8 and will be live from the JC Penney Court of the Southgate Mall.  Local choral groups including Missoula Mendelssohn Club, Sweet Adelines, Hellgate Chevaliers, Missoula Kid’s Choir, Choral Festival Octet and the University Choir will perform during the hour-long Telethon. The broadcast will be hosted by KPAX’s Mike Powers, Jill Valley and Erin Yost, who will present entertaining commentary about Missoula’s Festival, interviews with Festival organizers, and pre-recorded interviews with key community supporters for a perspective on the Festival’s impact on Western Montana.  Sponsors of the 2016 Festival will also be featured during the broadcast. Come watch the Telethon live at the Mall, or tune into KPAX Channel 8 from home on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m., or watch the broadcast streamed on


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.