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Missoula is an arts community.  That’s not a secret.  Every year Missoula finds itself listed in a new national study highlighting our strength in the arts (read article here). These studies make clear that our nonprofit arts organizations are strong, and that overall, our arts and cultural events and activities have been a boon to our local economy. 

What’s been missing in all this has been the artists themselves.  Being a professional artist is a challenge.  The creation, inspiration, working in one’s studio, honing a craft – that’s the enjoyable part, and it is why folks decide to pursue their craft professionally.   What is harder, and often neither the strength nor the passion of an artist, is the business part – marketing, budgeting, looking for gigs or gallery opportunities.  And even if one is successful in this latter area, all too often it is still difficult to make ends meet.  Paying for groceries, rent, travel (if you are an artist in Montana, you must travel) can all too often force artists to look for other, more affordable communities to live in. 

As a strong arts community, we want our artists to live here!  But one look at the rising housing prices indicates how difficult it is for many to continue living in Missoula.  Now in its second year, Arts Missoula offers an Artist Grant, which will be used to provide grants to individual artists in our community so they can continue to live and work here.  Arts Missoula will provide multiple individual artists up to $2,500, in unrestricted grant funds to help establish and grow a Missoula-based livelihood in the arts. We recognize the challenges artists face in sustaining a career in the arts. We also recognize the value that these artists bring to our community and culture. These grants are focused on community-building through the arts, providing financial assistance for individual artists living in Missoula County, whose creative work connects with and enriches our community. This is not a project-based grant per se, but an opportunity to support the individual artists living in Missoula to pursue their creative journey as it relates to connecting with our local area. Special consideration will be given to those whose work and story intersect with and enhances the community. 

Individual artists must be 18 years and older, and applicants must currently be residing in Missoula County for a minimum of one year, as well as for the life of the grant.  Applicants need to be currently working in the field of visual or performing arts, at any career stage.  Aside from exhibiting high artistic quality, innovation, and creativity, artists will have the opportunity to demonstrate interaction with Missoula community members through exhibitions, installations, performances, or any other events or activities that are accessible to the public.

At Arts Missoula, we see this development as a major step in building an ever more vibrant community for arts and culture.  We look forward to building the Arts Missoula Artist Grant into a sustainable program, able to fund local artists year after year. 

To apply, Click Here!

Heather Adams, Executive Director Arts Missoula

2024 Awards Recipients

Arts Educator Award – Nancy Labbe Watch Nancy’s Awards Video!

Cultural Vision Award – Craig Menteer Watch Craig’s Awards Video!

Individual Artist Award – John Floridis Watch John’s Awards Video!

Business Support of the Arts Award – Park Side Credit Union Watch Park Side Credit Union’s Video!

New to the Zoo Award – Michael Rohd Watch Michael’s Awards Video!

John Engen Cultural Ambassador Award – Heidi Starrett Watch Heidi’s Awards Video!

2024 Award Sponsors

Micki & John Frederikson

2024 Event Sponsors

Jack Sturgis

John Shaffner

What People are Saying:

“The wonderful folks at Arts Missoula held their 2023 Arts and Cultures Awards Reception this evening and what a tremendous slate of Missoulians recognized for their contributions to the arts, new and old. The arts play such an important role in defining the personality of a community, and Missoula continues to shine brightly. Support for the arts, or as was said tonight, the opportunity to do things with your hands, is the expectation in Missoula, as it should be. The opportunities provided by the Arts for our youngest residents to our oldest, from programs in our schools to cultural events throughout the year, we are lucky to live in this place where people care enough to give back.” – Mike Nugent

Congratulations to the 2023 Award Winners:

Tom Bensen ~ John Engen Cultural Ambassador Award

Julia Galloway of the University of Montana ~ Individual Artist Award

Lewis Nelson of Sentinel High School ~Arts Educator Award

Gary Bowman of Morgenroth Music ~ Business Support of the Arts Award

Liv Swant-Johnson of Word Dog ~ Cultural Vision Award

Julia Tai of Missoula Symphony ~ New to the Zoo Award

2022 Missoula Arts & Culture Awards Reception

Watch the 2022 awards presentation and reception


·The Cultural Ambassador Award, honoring someone who has consistently supported the arts community and cultural diplomacy is awarded to Mayor John Engen.

·The Individual Artist, presented to someone who has shown exceptional achievement in their chosen craft, is awarded to Joy French, founder, choreographer, and dancer of Bare Bait Dance Company.

·The Arts Educator, honoring an outstanding local educator who has devoted a career to teaching the arts, is awarded to Rob Tapper, Professor of Trombone & Director of Jazz Studies at UM.

·The Business Support for the Arts, given to businesses that have provided long-term support to Missoula’s artists and arts organizations, is awarded to Logjam Presents.

·The Cultural Vision Award, honoring artistic and cultural programming, goes to Open Air.


Past Award Recipients

2020 Honorees

2020 Cultural Ambassador: Nancy Matthews

2020 Individual Artist: Margaret Baldridge

2020 Arts Educator: John Combs

2020 Business Support for the Arts: Blackfoot Communications

2020 Cultural Vision: Zootown Arts Community Center

2019 Honorees

2019 Cultural Ambassador: Mark Thane

2019 Individual Artist: Corwin “Corky” Clairmont

2019 Arts Educator: Matt Loehrke

2019 Business Support for the Arts: Kimberley Roth / Merrill Lynch

2019 Cultural Vision: Marc Moss

2018 Honorees

2018 Cultural Achievement: Sharon Snavely

2018 Individual Artist: James Lee Burke

2018 Arts Educator: H. Rafael Chacon

2018 Business Support for the Arts: Montana Public Radio

2018 Cultural Vision: Charlene Campbell Carey

2017 Honorees

2017 Cultural Achievement: Stephen Glueckert

2017 Cultural Vision: Roxy Theater

2017 Arts Educator: Karen Callen

2017 Business Support for the Arts: Downtown Missoula Partnership

2017 Individual Artist: Chuck Florence

2016 Honorees

2016 Cultural Achievement: John Driscoll

2016 Cultural Vision: Clay Studio of Missoula

2016 Arts Educator: Dorothy Morrison

2016 Business Support for the Arts: Flanagan Motors

2016 Individual Artist: Kendahl Jan Jubb

2015 Honorees

2015 Cultural Achievement: William Marcus

2015 Individual Artist: Stephen Kalm

2015 Arts Educator: Karen Kaufman

2015 Business Support for the Arts: Heather Adams, Downtown Dance Collective

2015 Cultural Vision: Michael McGill, MCT Inc.

2014 Honorees

2014 Cultural Achievement: Cathy Capps

2014 Individual Artist: Beth Lo

2014 Arts Educator: Tarn Ream & Lisa Deer

2014 Business Support for the Arts: Missoula Federal Credit Union

2014 Cultural Vision: Joel Baird, MCAT

2013 Honorees

2013 Cultural Achievement: Carol Stovall

2013 Individual Artist: Darko Butorac

2013 Arts Educator: Mohan Kartha

2013 Business Support for the Arts: The Good Food Store

2013 Cultural Vision: Kim Anderson

2012 Honorees

2012 Cultural Achievement: Herb Swick

2012 Individual Artist: David Horgan

2012 Arts Educator: Carla Getz

2012 Business Support for the Arts: Crossings Collaboration

2012 Cultural Vision: Greg Johnson

2011 Honorees

2011 Cultural Achievement: Jim & Marci Valeo

2011 Individual Artist: Michael Marsolek

2011 Arts Educator: Dean Peterson

2011 Business Support for the Arts: 103.3 The Trail

2011 Cultural Vision: International Choral Festival

2010 Honorees

2010 Cultural Achievement: Bruce Micklus, and Don & Pat Simmons

2010 Business Support for the Arts: First Security Bank

2010 Cultural Program of the Year: Amy Martin, Y Music

2009 Honorees

2009 Cultural Achievement: James Todd and Pat Williams

2009 Business Support for the Arts: The Missoulian

2008 Honorees

2008 Cultural Achievement: Tom & Ann Boone and Ray & Susie Risho

2008 Business Support for the Arts: Advanced Litho Printing

2007 Honorees

2007 Cultural Achievement: Lance Boyd, William Kittredge, Jodi Marshall and Laura Millin

2007 Business Support for the Arts: Dana Gallery and Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

2006 Honorees

2006 Cultural Achievement: Alayne Dolson, Joseph Henry and Geoff Sutton

2006 Business Support for the Arts: Allegra Print and Imaging and A.L.P.S.

2005 Honorees

2005 Cultural Achievement: Eugene Andrie, Dana Boussard, Juliette Crump and Annick Smith

2005 Business Support for the Arts: Dollar Rent-a-Car and Gateway Printing

2003 Honorees (Awarded January 2004)

2003 Cultural Achievement: Geoff Badenoch, Sheryl Noethe, Rudy Autio and Gerald Doty

2003 Business Support for the Arts: Southgate Mall and Rockin’ Rudy’s

2002 Honorees

2002 Cultural Achievement: John & Sue Talbot, Theresa Cox, James Welch and Barbara Theroux

2000 Honorees

2000 Cultural Achievement: Terry Conrad, Don Carey, Jim Caron and Monte Dolack

1999 Honorees

1999 Cultural Achievement: Jo-Anne Mussulman, Joseph Mussulman and David Nelson

Spring 2024 Arts Missoula Film Series

New name and new films! This series takes a deeper look into the intersection of arts & cultures in our society and how that transformative power shapes our every day.

Film Showings:

All Film Showings are at 7:30 PM

March 19, 2024Downtown 81 (2000, Unrated). After being released from the hospital, the artist Jean Michel Basquiat wanders around Manhattan trying to sell art to make money and find a place to stay. Click here to learn more.

April 16, 2024 – Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005, Not Rated). This documentary follows twenty male inmates in a Kentucky prison as they form an unlikely Shakespearean acting troupe. Click here to learn more.

May 14, 2024The Cool School (2008, Not Rated). In this documentary, learn how LA Learned to Love Modern Art. A lesson in how a few renegade artists built an art scene from scratch. Click here to learn more.

June 17, 2024Paris is Burning (1990, Rated R). A chronicle of New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality. Click here to learn more.

All films were FREE and open to the public because of the generous support of these businesses and organizations in Missoula: International Rescue Committee, Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, Pink Grizzly, Montana Educators Credit Union and Lake Missoula Tea Company, and US Bank.

Local artist Courtney Blazon designed our poster.

About the World View Film Series

In the fall of 2018, Arts Missoula inaugurated the World View Film Series, which screens four international movies (either foreign productions or with a focus on a country abroad) in the fall and four in the spring of each year. A five-person committee selects a seasonal focus and the corresponding films.

The film series provides a “Window to the World” for Missoula that is FREE and open to the public!

Past seasonal themes included:  

Spring 2023Cultures In Love (Films about cultures in love)

Fall 2022Cultures Healing (Films about cultures recovering from trauma)

Spring 2022Cultures in Words (Films about writing and writers) With post-film discussion hosted by Marisa Diaz-Waian, from Merlin CCC

Fall 2021 – Cultures in Flux (Films about movement in societies) With post-film discussion hosted by Marisa Diaz-Waian, from Merlin CCC

Spring 2021 – Cultures Coming Together (Films about freedom and democracy) With post-film discussion hosted by Marisa Diaz-Waian, from Merlin CCC.

Spring 2020 – The Roxy Theater was closed, due to COVID-19.

Fall 2019 – Cultures on Display (Films about art in movies)

Spring 2019 – Cultures in Harmony (Films about music in movies)

Fall 2018 – Cultures in Motion (Films about dance in movies)

All Poster Art by Courtney Blazon.


For over thirty years, Missoula’s annual book festival has paid tribute to the tradition of writing in the West by bringing together authors from across the region. In 2015, what was the Humanities Montana Festival of the Book became The Montana Book Festival as an Incubator Program of Arts Missoula. Since then, The Montana Book Festival has been a grassroots organization, relying on individual donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, a handful of dedicated locals and the enduring support of the Montana literary community to survive. We have worked to build upon the event’s legacy while also reinvigorating the festival with new ideas and fresh perspective. Every year, local sponsors have come together to bring literary personalities such as James Lee Burke, Jane Smiley, Bill Kittredge, Charles D’Ambrosio, Gretel Ehrlich, Rick Bass and more to our mountain town. Along with an exciting array of readings, panels and exhibits, we annually host Pie & Whiskey, Erotic Fan Fiction, concerts and parties in downtown Missoula. Against the beautiful mountain backdrop, in a city split by the famous Clark Fork River, summer comes to a close and The Montana Book Festival Comes to life.

The 2023 Palmerston North delegation visit was a HUGE success! The 7 person delegation were able to spend quality time at a number of local organizations and met with numerous community members, administrators, city council members, lawmakers and had time to enjoy everything that Missoula has to offer. We are excited to continue our relationship with Palmerston North, NZ.

Read the Missoulian article about our sister city here.

Thank you Flanagan Motors for providing transportation, Missoula Downtown Association, Missoula Downtown Foundation and BID of Missoula for co-hosting the delegates at a variety of functions. And thank you to the Holiday Inn Parkside for being the official lodging for our delegates.

A big thank you to Tim and Dawn Payne for their support in this delegation visit!


Missoula, Montana and Palmerston North, New Zealand have been Sister Cities for over 40 years. In that time the two cities have helped unite cultures and learn from each other through various cultural and educational exchanges. We annually celebrate this unique relationship with New Zealand Day(s), an event highlighting our longstanding connection with Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Learn more about Palmerston North, and our Sister City relationship HERE!


Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown

The 2023 Delegation Members from our Sister Cities stay at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown, the Exclusive Sister City Hotel while in Missoula.

Flanagan Motors

Transportation for the 2023 Sister City Delegation Exclusively Provided by Flanagan Motors Mazda Missoula

Downtown Missoula Partnership

Missoula Downtown Partnership – Sharing the Vibrancy of Missoula with the 2023 Palmy Delegation Through Sponsored Tours, Events and Experiences

Five on Black

Worden’s Market

Iron Horse Brew Pub

Lake Missoula Tea Company

Kreilick Family Foundation


Thank you all for coming out and making Germanfest 2023 so memorable. We had record numbers in attendance and what a beautiful day to celebrate our sister city relationship with Neckargemünd, Germany! A HUGE THANK YOU to our volunteers, partners and sponsors. We could not have done this without your help and support. We will see you next Fall at Caras Park! We love you Missoula!

New: Germanfest 2023 Games!

3 additional Germanfest games were offered this year: Stein Holding Contest, Fish Slapping Contest, and Log Sawing Contest!

Germanfest Features:

Authentic German Food & Beer, Live Music, Children’s Activities & Sister City Display, Germanfest Mini Market, Games and MORE!

For any questions, email or give us a call at 406.541.0860.

History of Germanfest

1993 – 2023  
30th Anniversary of Missoula’s Sister City Connection with Neckargemünd, Germany 

The Origin Story 

2023 marks the 30th anniversary of Missoula’s Sister-City Partnership with Neckargemünd, Germany. In 1992 – 1993, delegations from these two cities, including choirs, mayors, city council members and interested citizens, traveled to their potential sister-city to get to know one another and to discuss whether such a partnership might be feasible. 

The sister city idea was born during the 1990-91 academic year when Professor Jerry Fetz, from the University of Montana and Professor Erich Pohl, from the University of Heidelberg received Fulbright Awards to trade places for the year. They both became acquainted with their host city mayors and agreed this relationship would be beneficial to both parties. Mayor Dan Kemmis of Missoula and Mayor Oskar Schuster of Neckargemünd, with the blessing and support of their respective City Councils and numerous citizens, agreed that this partnership should be inaugurated and bring these cities, their students, and citizens of all ages closer together. 

Over the past 30 years, we can look back to a vibrant partnership that has focused on high school and university students (close to 400 young Missoulians and young Neckargemünders have spent memorable times in each other’s cities, schools, and households) as well as numerous citizen -to-citizen and cultural exchanges. Although the high school student exchange program between Hellgate and the high school in Neckargemünd has experienced a hiatus after some 25 years, we hope to continue exchanges in the future.

Generous Missoulians have shown guests from Germany not only Missoula and our immediate surrounding area, but Montana’s spectacular landscapes and colorful people as well. And gracious Neckargemünders have greeted and welcomed Missoulians into the homes of on that side of the Atlantic.  Exploring Neckargemünd and nearby Heidelberg, the oldest and perhaps most famous German University town that is just five miles downstream on the Neckar River.  As well as other remarkable and beautiful areas and towns in this southeast region of Germany. 

About Neckargemünd 

A very old city, Neckargemünd was first cited in an official document over 1,000 years ago. It is now made up of the main part of town, as well as four additional nearby former villages.  It is located on the Neckar River where the smaller Elsenz River flows into it.  It also has a river running near it!  The town is nestled in by a walled hill of Dilsberg and another hill to Mückenloch, and up to the town of Waldhilsbach.  Each of the former villages has its own personality, but all are proud areas of Neckargemünd. In between all these parts of the town lie beautiful, forested areas that invite long walks for every season. Neckargemünd is smaller than Missoula but attracts a lot of visitors from the larger towns like Heidelberg or Mannheim, where many Neckargemünders work or study (collectively known as the Odenwald).  

Friendships and understanding have blossomed for the respective partner city, region/state, and country. Out of this partnership, arose the annual Germanfest in Missoula, a fall festival in Caras Park drawing 1000’s over 30 years. 


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