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Our Mission

Cultivating community through accessible arts experiences for all. 


The Great Big Power of the Little Guy

My lifelong cheerleader, A.K.A. my mom, has taught me from day one that big things come in little packages. I think it was her way of helping me cope with the fact that I was itty-bitty-"mini" growing up. It was her reminder that size shouldn't be a limitation to what is deemed valuable or great; a combatant to the negative connotation that generally accompanies something considered little. As an adult, I'm reminded of this positivity everyday through my work at the ZACC as I bear witness to and experience "mini" contributions that add up to this amazing thing we call our local art community.

You may have been there, but if you weren't, the ZACC just held our 11th Annual Mini Show at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, and honestly it could potentially be described as anything but "mini" given the two-story venue of which we took full advantage. The very first Mini Show was named as such because it was held in the tiny old ZACC basement and therefore had to be just that – "mini" in all aspects. But as we've grown, many wonder why we haven't changed the name ... and I like to think it's because it's a celebration of the "little (mini) guy". The ZACC has always celebrated artists of all levels, but it's an especially great place for helping artists test the waters as they delve into deeper levels of themselves and the art world. The Mini Show is the absolute pinnacle of these celebrations, giving the "little (mini) guy" a chance to hold the spotlight just like anyone else. The funds raised from the event help continue the cycle, and it's truly amazing to witness. I'm thankful to have been able to contribute over the years as both an artist and employee.

In fact, it's so enjoyable, I want to see the celebration of the "little (mini) guy" last until what we're now calling our "$5 Fundraiser", better known as Missoula Gives, happening May 4 & 5 this year. It's my hope that the ZACC's part in Missoula Gives will celebrate a different "little (mini) guy" – those with huge support for the arts in their hearts, but who are making it work on their Missoula wages. I want those who feel like they may not have enough to make a difference, to use this chance to give $5 to the ZACC, and know that they're collectively making a really BIG difference!

So join us at the beginning of May, and use your super strong "mini" giving muscles to help the ZACC raise important operational funds during Missoula Gives 2023. Give $5 to help us continue to provide opportunities that pay Missoula artists and performers (and help them make a living). Give $5 to help us continue to provide opportunities for entertainment, creativity, and connection. Give $5 to help us continue to provide educational opportunities for artists new, professional, young, old, and everything in-between. 

Remember, big things come in small packages, and together we can go far. Now's your chance!


Artist Ann Karp of Sideways Gaze
  • Caitlyn Stainken Buhl, ZACC Executive Director
    Caitlyn Stainken Buhl, ZACC Executive Director

    At the ZACC, we believe in the intrinsic value of art creation, and the power of the arts to deepen connections, transform our understanding of self and community, and inspire joy.

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