Building a Thriving Missoula: Creating A Sense of Place with Art

The City of Missoula is currently engaged in developing a growth plan – known as Our Missoula. The plan, as you would expect a city wide plan to do, encompasses nearly every aspect of life in Missoula. What we at the Missoula Cultural Council are most excited about however, is the attention being paid to creating a sense of place. (beautifully explained in the video below).

Seems pretty obvious, right? Would you rather live in an indistinguishable, run of the mill, American suburb – or a vibrant community that blends the natural beauty of the Rockies with a thriving art scene, a beautiful and inviting downtown – a place that hosts public pianos on street corners, sculpture gardens down the road from the post office, a festival nearly every weekend, and so many more cultural offerings.

Creating a sense of place means recognizing what makes your community unique, and embracing that identity. We all know and love the arts in our community, but to succeed as a growing city, we need to make that identity readily apparent to any and all visitors.

Missoula has always been a creative community. Our humble mountain town has been the home of numerous artists from notable authors such as James Welch and Norman Maclean to absurdist filmmaker David Lynch and Decemberists front man Colin Meloy – just to name a few. However our commitment to the arts goes well beyond a handful of celebrities.

The First Friday Gallery Walk each month floods downtown with eager art enthusiasts, but that is just the tip of our local arts scene. Art is a driving force in our economy, the tie that binds our community, and the soul of our town.

When we embrace and support our unique cultural identity, we help to create that sense of place that will be so important as we look to the future.

One great example of creating a sense of place that is well underway is the Missoula Art Museum‘s upcoming Art Park. Learn more about that here.

To get involved in the Our Missoula public planning and to voice your interest in creating an arts forward sense of place, visit them online and sign up to be a part of upcoming focus groups.