Big Things Small Packages: ZACC mini Gala

This Saturday it’s the little things that matter. The Zootown Arts Community Center will be hosting their 2nd Annual Mini Benefit Gala at their northside home on Second Street. Don’t let the youth of this event fool you; it’s one of Missoula’s biggest and best art parties. Because if you know anything about the ZACC, you’ll know they dream big and always keep the fun in fundraising.

Nearly 50 of Missoula’s best artists, including such well known names as Monte Dolack and Courtney Blazon, have created miniature works of art for the benefit auction. In addition to art the evening boasts Missoula’s best chefs serving up miniature dishes and desserts and Montgomery Distillery will be hosting a mini cocktail hour (don’t worry – full size drinks will be available). But beyond the fun of the evening’s events, attendees can know that they are supporting a very worthy cause.

The ZACC has become a cornerstone of the Missoula community. Staff, board and volunteers work tirelessly to provide invaluable art experiences for all ages. With 20 summer camps this year ranging from visual art to theater, music and poetry – the ZACC leaves no creative stone unturned. Throughout the year they offer unique, innovative and educational art workshops, tutoring sessions, and are a constant presence at Missoula festivals.


As if that weren’t enough the ZACC also contains a gallery with regular monthly exhibitions of some of Missoula’s most talented artists, low cost studio space available for local artists, and a handful of artist residencies as well. They have programs and workshops in place to help artists learn how to best market their art and succeed in their passions.

The ZACC, like all non-profits, relies on fundraising events to maintain programming, but the purpose of this gala is not to simply maintain. If the services they already offer are any indication, these hard working individuals are not content to stay still. Proceeds from the gala will help them to achieve their goal of expanding the organization and providing even more services to our community.

The reach of this organization extends well beyond the brick walls of their northside home. To say nothing of the long lasting and proven benefits of arts education (higher graduation rates, better comprehensive skills, overall increase in academic performance – the list goes on), the ZACC also acts a driving force in Missoula’s economy.

“The Northside neighborhood in Missoula, Montana has one public gathering space, the ZACC…According to the North Missoula Community Development Corporation, there is a sense of renewed vitality and community caring that is becoming more and more palpable. The ZACC is proud to be part of this revitalization, engaging patrons in this spirit of service.”

The ZACC’s existence itself, particularly its geographical existence, is a positive force in our community. As the city looks for opportunities to strengthen our economy through urban renewal, just by being what it is and where it is, the ZACC is helping to breathe life into the northside neighborhood. They give people throughout Missoula a reason to come, and it won’t be long before that little stretch of road by the train tracks is a cultural center of our city.

ZACC block party-w800-h800

The plain truth is that when you support the ZACC and organizations like it, you’re strengthing our community, our economy, and our future generations. That sounds like a good enough reason to have a drink and buy some art to me.

The Mini Benefit Gala will occur on Saturday, April 19 at 5 pm. Tickets are available online and at the Zootown Arts Community Center (235 North 1st Street West).