At Arts Missoula, we believe that art and culture are vital to the strength and growth of our community. We are dedicated to seeing strong arts and cultural programs in our schools, to increase public and private support for local arts and cultural activities, and to connect and engage our community through these creative and educational experiences.
Tom Bensen, Executive Director
Tom Bensen has lived in Missoula since 1986 and has been the executive director of Arts Missoula since June 2004. Before then he spent seven and a half years as director of First Night Missoula. After joining Arts Missoula the two organizations merged. Before life in the nonprofit world, Tom taught high school history and was an owner of Freddy’s Feed & Read, one of Missoula’s legendary culinary institutions. He has served on several local nonprofit boards and has also served on the advisory committee for First Night USA. He has been a singer with the Missoula Symphony Chorale, Dolce Canto, and the Ed Norton Big Band. He enjoys being outdoors, whether hiking, biking, skiing, walking the dogs, or mowing the lawn. His wife Susan works for Montana Public Radio, and they have one son, Peter, a Hellgate High School graduate.
Sienna Solberg, SPARK! Arts Director
Since 2007, Sienna Solberg has dedicated her professional career to empowering and supporting youth by working in various capacities through afterschool programs, therapy programs, and volunteer work. She holds a BA in psychology with a minor in studio fine arts from the University of Montana. Sienna has effectively collaborated with numerous community agencies, designed and implemented fundraising and community awareness events, coordinated hundreds of afterschool programs, organized trainings and professional development, served on the Friends of Flagship advisory board and was nominated for Missoula’s 2017 Outstanding Neighborhood Volunteer award for her leadership and fundraising efforts to install a community park playground. In her spare time, Sienna enjoys everything art, anything creative, and spending time with her family.
Udo Fluck, Director of Global & Cultural Affairs
Dr. Udo Fluck brings two decades of experience in international program development and intercultural/global education to his position. Udo has presented over 1,000 cultural awareness trainings to date, nationally, as well as internationally. He has developed and directed intercultural and global-competence-building programs at the University of Montana between 2004 and 2016. Udo has designed and taught cultural and global-competence seminars for elementary, middle, and high schools in the Missoula school district, since spring 2014, and as a faculty member, through Inspired Classroom, across the State of Montana.
Born and raised in Wiesbaden, Germany, Udo came to Missoula in 1989 for his undergraduate and graduate education. He holds degrees in instructional design and technology, as well as in multicultural education and maintains his connection to UM, teaching evening courses and weekend seminars in cultural awareness and global skill development. Udo was also the senior curriculum developer for the National Science Foundation’s Resilience through Intercultural Skill Enhancement (RISE), housed at the Salish Kootenai College campus on the Flathead Reservation
Kirsten Paisley, Public Art Coordinator
Kirsten is both the Public Art Coordinator for Arts Missoula and liaison to the City of Missoula Public Art Committee. She is responsible for project administration and public correspondence pertaining to public art in Missoula and offers administrative support to Arts Missoula and SPARK! Arts’ wide array of events and programming. Originally from Ohio, Kirsten graduated from Butler University with a BM in Vocal Performance and performed with the Indianapolis Opera while in Indiana. After college, Kirsten toured for Missoula Children’s Theatre as a Tour Actor/Director for 2 years before moving to Missoula in 2015 to become MCT’s Director of Performing Arts Camps. Kirsten has been involved in numerous productions around Missoula; including onstage as Ursula (The Little Mermaid), or Kala (Tarzan) or behind the scenes as Music Director or Choreographer. She has always had a passion for the arts and is excited for the opportunity to help provide the Missoula community a way of regularly interacting with the art world.
McKenna Cramer, Development Associate
McKenna graduated from the University of Montana in 2016 with her degree in Communication. She loves the Missoula Community and has dedicated her career to giving back to this wonderful place. She spent years as the Director of Advancement at the Humane Society of Western Montana where she adopted her two perfect black cats, Charlotte and Brooklyn. She is excited to continue her nonprofit career and contribute to uniting Missoula’s art and cultural community. McKenna is also a coach for the University of Montana Griz Cheer Team. In her free time, McKenna enjoys spending as much time outside as possible and visiting her family and friends across the country.
Board of Directors
- Melissa Blunt, President
- John Calsbeek, Vice President
- Jake Kreilick, Immediate Past President
- Micki Frederikson, Treasurer
- Kim Anderson, Secretary
Katie Patten, Jeremy Canwell, Julie Robitaille, Scott Woodall, Heidi Starrett, Shannon Flanagan, Michelle Guzman, Jack Sturgis