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Arts Missoula’s Mission is to connect Art and Culture through Education, Advocacy, and Community. A significant part of the “education” mission is fulfilled by Arts Missoula GLOBAL (AMG), which promotes intercultural awareness and global competence development through professional, individual cultural seminars and complete educational programs, among other programming, events and activities.   

AMG director Dr. Udo Fluck has presented seminars for hundreds of educators at the annual Montana Educator Conference during the last decade. For the first time, for one of his talks, Udo co-presented with a teacher from Missoula County Public Schools. Rae Baerlocher, a 7th grade educator from Meadow Hill Middle School. Rae and Udo have collaborated since 2018 in Udo’s Global and Cultural Competence program, which helps 3rd, 7th and 11th grade students, in four local school districts, to develop global and cultural competence, by identifying a variety of similarities and differences between diverse continents, countries and regions. 

Udo and Rae shared their presentation titled: From Ancient Histories to Global Communities – Bridging the Gap. The main goal of their presentation was highlighting that history enriches experiences and encourages a sense of belonging, for young people. Both speakers emphasized that finding connections of life and common themes of past and present is critical, in educating teenagers. 

In addition, Udo offered two solo presentations titled: Cultural Competence Through Language Instruction and The Post COVID Classroom Teaching, Learning and Supporting, the latter attracting a record crowd of teachers. “I am very grateful that there was so much audience interest in these diverse presentation topics. A strong listener base of teachers from across Montana means that there is a desire for sharing knowledge and experiences on important topics that currently matter to educators and these kinds of annual gatherings are a great way to do exactly that, collaborating with others in the field”, Fluck stated. 

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Elaine Fraticelli’s Bio:

I’m a naturalist and a born artist who also loves writing, hiking, and watching movies in my spare time. I’m currently located in Missoula, MT, creating art in a small studio space downtown and managing a retail store for a local company. I’m continually interested in community, psychology, ecology, and how humanity can better integrate with itself and the earth. I graduated from UM with my BFA in 2016 and immediately was in a car accident that changed my life. My personal experiences with loss, physical and emotional therapy, interpersonal relationship struggles, and challenging environments, has influenced how I view current issues in the world today. Making art about what I see and experience helps me process both difficult and joyous occasions. My aim is to visually translate my knowledge and experiences into new and beautiful art pieces that expand our understanding of reality.

Her Practice:

My work leans towards surreal collage as I often use juxtaposed images in my compositions to compare or emphasize. My favorite moments come when I’m weaving a web of complexities in my work, and creating visual comparisons that are new and exciting. I use a variety of media to bring life to my visual translations, often mixing styles and techniques to expand on what my art can become. I’m well practiced in painting and drawing but also enjoy using nontraditional materials such as digital art, relief sculptures, and found objects. I regularly start a project by doing research to expand my knowledge and understanding of a theme or current issue I’m captivated by. Then I distill these ideas into images to create emotional compositions that are intended to broaden perspectives. I draw inspiration and knowledge from attending artist talks and workshops as well as following scientists and other artists on social media. My main muse has always been mother earth and the life she creates and destroys; the beauty and chaos she contains. Bringing her motifs and images into my work to relate our human struggles to hers is one way I create beauty out of painful or heavy topics and experiences. I recognize my own bias and privilege as a cis, white, female when creating work about social issues I have no direct experience with and I seek to amplify the voices I’ve learned from when bringing my work into privileged places. My work has been accepted for several solo and group gallery exhibitions as well as numerous smaller show opportunities in my local community. As I grow, my work grows and changes and I always welcome all opportunities to learn more.

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Arts Missoula GLOBAL has hired two part-time teachers, Monica Dierken and Nathan Poukish, to help teach 180 seminars in the Global and Cultural Competence (GCC) Program in three Missoula elementary schools this fall and spring of 2023. Monica is currently a graduate student in UM’s College of Education, studying to be a teacher and Nathan has a teaching background, with 9 years of classroom experience. Funding for the program expansion is provided through a multi-year grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. 

The GCC Program started in 2018 with seminars taught in 7 schools within the Missoula County Public School (MCPS) district. During the 2019 – 2020 academic year, with school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seminars were offered through a remote learning platform and demand increased.  Last year, in the 2021 – 2022 academic year, three additional school districts, DeSmet, Target Range and Lolo, joined the GCC Program. A record 300 seminars were offered in 10 elementary, middle and high schools last year. This year, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary and St. Joseph Elementary and Middle Schools were added. That brings the total number of schools serviced to 17, since the inception of the program, back in 2018.

“As this program grows, we continue to focus on equity and reaching all schools in the MCPS district and beyond.  We are working toward increased funding opportunities to ensure equity and access”  said Heather Adams, Executive Director of Arts Missoula.

The GCC Program was developed in Missoula by Dr. Udo Fluck, Director of Arts Missoula GLOBAL, and has been offered since fall of 2018. The GCC Program helps 3rd, 7th and 11th grade students to develop global and cultural competence, identifying a variety of similarities and differences between diverse continents, countries and regions. This is accomplished by utilizing cultural, historical, geographic, linguistic, and economic information, as well as information on climate conditions and government structures, to develop a sense of place and space.

It is the only program of its kind in the United States, in regard to breadth (elementary school to university level), as well as its unique pedagogical approach. For the past three years, Udo was the only teacher in the program. “I am thrilled about the schools continued interest, and new schools joining, which resulted in the steady program expansion. The fact that we are now able, with Monica and Nathan, two trained and experienced teachers, to meet that additional seminar demand, is important for the continued growth of the program”, Udo said.


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