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Our Mission

Cultivating community through accessible arts experiences for all. 


The Mighty Mini Show

Ten years ago we held the first Mini Show in the ZACC’s basement on the Northside. The idea of holding a gala event in our basement was pretty absurd, as the space was about as unglitzy as it gets. But ZACC staff have always prided themselves on their DIY skills and making art out of, well, everything … so we rolled up our sleeves and set out to glitz up that old basement into a space worthy of an art gala.

We spent months transforming that previously dark and dreary storage room into a spectacularly illuminated dreamland. We painted the floor and the walls and the beams. We wrapped the room in plastic and Christmas lights and hung chandeliers. We borrowed tables and chairs and hauled them one by one down the steep basement stairs. We asked local chefs to donate miniature food items for dinner and dessert. We asked artists to donate tiny artworks. We asked

Bravo Catering to come and park their mobile kitchen outside. We borrowed wine glasses and plates and silverware and linens … and hundreds of hours and hundreds of asks later, we did it! The first Mini Show was a sold out event featuring nearly one hundred tiny artworks, and 150 ZACC supporters wore their finest threads to our basement where they dined and laughed and bid. We made $12,000 to support the ZACC’s operations that year, and we were elated and exhausted and ready to do it all over again next year.

After a few years and a few more elaborate art installations in that fateful basement, including a handmade forest, we grew out of the space and settled into our new home at The Wilma. The Wilma offered a much grander room, with room enough for both the Mini Show and the ZACC to grow and blossom.

Ten years later, some things have changed and some haven’t. We still work with Bravo Catering, and they cook an amazing meal for our guests every year. We still have an incredible dessert auction with delicious and artful desserts, donated by Missoula’s finest restaurants. We still pour our hearts into every aspect of the event and all of the creative details, and we still rely on the Mini Show to raise critical funds that support the ZACC’s year-round operations.

But everything about this event is really maximal now – other than the name. We now accept all sizes of artworks, not just miniature ones. Our guest count and our event revenue continue to grow (we raised $80,000 last year!) … Although we still call it the Mini Show (because we’re just very attached to the name and all it has represented over the years), there really isn’t anything mini about it anymore.

And we love the Wilma, but the Mighty Mini Show has now outgrown the Wilma’s capacity, too. In order to make room for more guests, we are moving the event to the newly renovated Commercial Building at the Missoula County Fairgrounds this year. On April 2, 2022, the Mini Show will once again bring together Missoula’s creative community to celebrate the arts and show their support for the ZACC. We’ve fully embraced our new location with the theme ‘Vintage Carnival’, and we can’t wait to see what our creative community does to dress in that theme.

Thank you for being part of our journey from Mini to Mighty. We could not have done it without all of our community’s support. Please join us this April to celebrate 10 amazing years and raise your paddle for the ZACC. Please also join us for the gallery opening at the ZACC on Friday, March 18. The auction will also be accessible online for those who can’t make it to the main event.

With love,


Artist Ann Karp of Sideways Gaze
  • Kia Liszak, ZACC Executive Director
    Kia Liszak, ZACC Executive Director

    We believe in the power of the arts to create the human connections, innovations, and healing to make significant positive change in our world and our community, and the ZACC’s programs serving youth, veterans, families, and seniors are on the forefront of that change.

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