This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | March 23


The 2015 Annual MCC Arts & Culture Awards Luncheon is tomorrow, 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 and may be reserved from MCC at 541-0860.

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.

arts and cultureThe Missoula Art Museum presents Pat Zentz: Trio through March 28; Heavy Metal from The Collection, an exhibit featuring four pieces of steel sculpture by Ted Waddell and Manuel Izquierdo, through April 4;  Theo Ellsworth: Thought Clouds through June 26;  Renée Brown: Profusion through June 20.  Four Decades Of Collecting: Selections From The Permanent Collection through April 18 (pictured here: Walter Hook); Big Sky High School Art Club through May 29.

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 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 the Student Ensemble Series: UM Choir and Women’s Choir, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dennison Theatre; and a Student Recital Series featuring Charlotte Leong, Saxophone, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the UM Music Recital Hall.

The Missoula Community Theatre presents 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. The Rainmaker continues March 25-29.  Tickets are available at here, 728-7529, or the MCT box office.

Picture1Janel Traver, a Missoula high school senior, has made it to the finalist round of the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest, hosted by The Gallery Collection.  The scholarship is worth $10,000 plus $1,000 for the winner’s school.  Janel’s hand drawn design was selected by the judges and is now one of just 109 remaining this national competition.  Ten artists will move on from this round as potential winners, five by popular vote and five by judge’s choice.  Voting starts March 18 and concludes on April 1.  To support Janel, Facebook users are encouraged to vote by following this link or visiting The Gallery Collection Scholarship Contest Facebook page.  Janel’s entry is #9957.  Please help support this local aspiring artist by voting daily.

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, continuing March 24-28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Montana Theatre, PARTV Center, U of M Campus.

The 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 Paul McKee Quartet continues its run in Missoula at DalyJazz, Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m.  Featured performers are Paul Mckee (trombone), Chris Smith (drums), John Hammar (bass), Steve Kovalcheck (guitar). To reserve a spot, e-mail DalyJazz.

Picture2Full Grown Men will be playing this coming Wednesday (March 25) at noon at the atrium in the University Center.  Bring your lunch and enjoy.  It’s free.
Peace, Love and Music.

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 4.  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 Art Associates of Missoula monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 15, at 10:00 a.m. in the Education Center of the Missoula Art Museum, 335 N. Pattee St, Missoula. Kathi Olson of the City of Missoula Public Art Committee will share project details about Missoula’s artistically decorated Traffic Signal Boxes. Art Associates meetings are free and open to the public. For more information please call Susie at 544-0891.

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

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.