A BRIEF HISTORY
The ZACC recently moved from its original location in Missoula’s Northside neighborhood to the historic Studebaker building in the Heart of Missoula, at 216 W Main St. After over a decade of building programs and art experiences on the Northside, the ZACC outgrew its old location and desperately needed more space. Our current location offers three public art classrooms, 15 low- cost artist studios, a dedicated 175 seat performance space, music practice rooms, multiple galleries, and more. Our downtown space is centrally located and easily accessible via public transit. With better access and more space, we can serve the greater Missoula community. We are proud of the work we accomplished on the Northside and the revitalization the neighborhood has seen, and we are overjoyed to be in our new building.
Cultivating community through accessible arts experiences for all.
The Zootown Arts Community Center is Missoula’s non-profit local arts center and supports local artists, performing artists, and musicians by being as transparent and open in our practices as possible, and by instituting a business model by which all members of the Missoula Arts Community can comfortably create, collaborate, and thrive. The ZACC also strives to offer unique and accessible art experiences for everyone by booking a broad variety of local and touring acts in our theatre, and diverse art and installations in our galleries.
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. Thus the ZACC was born. 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.
The ZACC's mission, to make art accessible to everyone in Missoula, is carried out through programming in the organization's three main components:
COMMUNITY EDUCATIONWe teach classes to youth and adults, run affordable after-school art programs and summer camps, and create artistic and entrepreneurial workshops to develop skills for working artists and creative community members.
COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENTThe ZACC is an economic and artistic resource for working artists. We rent studio space at a low cost and provide the tools, networking, and information artists need to be successful. We host local performing artists and musicians in our theatre space, offering a generous profit share model to encourage their growth and success. Our Gallery Director works tirelessly to showcase a diverse range of local and regional artists, giving newer artists a platform they otherwise would not have access to.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTWe are a haven and networking space for our artists, young and old. Anyone can create, collaborate, and thrive in the ZACC regardless of their financial status. Our event space, studios, classrooms, recording studios, and conference room are available to the public at a low cost, or through a profit share agreement for performing artists. We reach out to the greater Missoula community through off-site events and gladly welcome partnerships with local businesses and other entities supportive of our mission.
The ZACC’s programs fundamentally integrate artistic exploration with community building. We strive to be an open and safe creative space for all. Our success has come with the generous help of volunteers, hard-working interns, and our dedicated staff members. It is this spirit of community, resourcefulness, and creativity which drives the ZACC to meet Missoula’s needs through what we do best, ART. Learn about our Executive Director Kia Liszak.
CULTURAL EQUITY STATEMENT
To support a full creative life for all, the ZACC commits to championing practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable community and society.
HOW WE DEFINE CULTURAL EQUITY:
Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts programming; the support of artists; the nurturing of an accessible, thriving venue for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.
HOW WE'RE GETTING THERE
To pursue needed systemic change related to equity we strive to:
Build inclusive spaces for art and culture within our programs, gallery shows and work broadly.
Represent the diversity of the community where we live in our staff, board and volunteers, by committing time and resources.
Build cultural consciousness among our board, staff, participants and wider arts community through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.
Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and report organization progress.
Hold ourselves accountable to the process of being an inclusive organization.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & AFFIRMATIONS
The Missoula Valley, where the ZACC is based, is located near the center of Séliš (Salish) and Ql̓ispé (upper Kalispel or Pend d’Oreille) homelands. For thousands of years, it has always been, and remains today, a place of the highest importance to them, and to the many other Indigenous peoples who traversed and visited the region, including the lower Kalispel, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, and Shoshone.
In Montana, and the United States broadly, there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.
Cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts.
We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.
Everyone deserves equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.
The arts are a useful tool for challenging inequities and presenting alternatives to unjust practices.