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 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 their son Pete lives in Portland and attends Portland State University.
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, as well as intercultural and global education to his position. He has developed and directed intercultural and global-competence-building programs at the University of Montana between 2004 and 2016. Since 2014, Udo has designed and taught cultural and global-competence seminars for elementary, middle, and high schools in the Missoula school district and across the State of Montana. As an Adjunct Associate Professor in UM’s College of Business, he continues to teach evening courses and weekend graduate seminars in cross-cultural management. 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. Born and raised in Wiesbaden, Germany, Udo came to Missoula in 1989 for his undergraduate and graduate education. He holds degrees in journalism, media management, instructional design and technology, as well as in multicultural education. Udo has been an invited and plenary speaker at over 30 national and international conferences and has presented over 1,200 documented cultural awareness seminars to date.
Paisley Thornton, Public Art Coordinator
Paisley 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, Paisley graduated from Butler University with a BM in Vocal Performance and performed with the Indianapolis Opera while in Indiana. After college, Paisley 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. Paisley 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.
Magda Chaney, Development Director
Magda brings her passion for music, desire to help children, and love for connecting people across cultures, borders, and languages. As the board president of the String Orchestra of the Rockies Magda led the fundraising, donor relations, and stewardship effort. During her 14-year tenure at the University of Montana Foundation, Magda worked in many professional roles that ranged from advancement services to security awareness education and project management. She has worked as an accredited foreign language translator/ interpreter and taught foreign languages at all academic levels.
Magda loves to sing, ski, bike, and meet people. The door to her office is always open and the tea kettle always on.
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, Scott Woodall, Heidi Starrett, Shannon Flanagan, Michelle Guzman, Jack Sturgis, Monte Grise