Mission & History

As a nonprofit arts community center providing facilities and expertise, the Zootown Arts Community Center delivers all ages arts education, fosters sustainable community development, and promotes accessible, life-enriching art experiences for Missoula residents and visitors.

By bringing working artists, artists-to-be, children, and community members together, we emphasize the richness of our own community and strengthen our organization.

Since 2008, the Zootown Arts Community Center has served as the central bridge between community and art in Missoula. The founders of the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC) sought to develop a place where all aspects of art from creation to experience were housed in a single space shared by the community. The space they envisioned now exists as the ZACC. A nucleus of creative activity, this multi-use facility provides opportunities in arts education and economic development, and acts as a safe, creative community center.

Location

The Northside neighborhood in Missoula, Montana has one public gathering space, the ZACC. The neighborhood is physically bounded by Montana Rail Link tracks, Interstate-90, and is segmented by a highway exchange, isolating the traditionally low-income residents from services and goods offered downtown. The ZACC, adjacent to the MRL tracks, leads community revitalization projects by partnering with organizations and businesses in the Northside. 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.

Programming

The ZACC's mission, to make art accessible to everyone in Missoula, is carried out through programming in the organization's three main components:

As an arts educational organization, we teach classes to youth and adults, run an affordable after-school art program serving 80 students per month, and create artistic and entrepreneurship workshops to develop skills for working artists and creative community members.

The ZACC is an economic and artistic resource for working artists. We rent studio space at a low cost and provide tools, networking, and the information they need to be successful. Our Gallery Program, run by our Artist-in-Residence, teaches artists how to hang and market their own show. 

The ZACC's safe, creative community center is situated in the historic neighborhood of the Northside in Missoula. We are a haven and networking space for these residents, including the many kids coming to the center by sponsorship or scholarship. Our space is available for rent and frequently used for small concerts and community events.

In addition, we have a drop-in paint your own pottery studio, glass fusing studio, and printshop which is open to the public 12-6pm Monday through Saturday.

As a community resource and leader, we initiate community projects from map campaigns to public murals.

The Center's programs integrate artistic exploration with community building. The greatest benefit of these programs and the Zootown Arts Community Center is a true sense of community, fostered by ownership of the space and art. We currently run primarily on volunteers, interns, and two staff members. The ZACC prides itself on being able to accomplish a lot with a little. It is this spirit of entrepreneurship, resourcefulness, and creativity which drives the ZACC to meet community needs through what we do best, ART.

Learn about our Director Kia Liszak