In support of our local arts community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ZACC randomly selects at least two applicants each week to receive our Artist & Performer Relief Fund Grant. This page is dedicated to the artists and performers who have received the grant, and who help to make Missoula (and Montana) the vibrant, wonderful place we all know and love. The grant is funded in part by the generous contributions of the Missoula United Way and Clearwater Credit Union, among other individual donors. To learn more about the grant, apply, or donate to the fund and support our arts community during this time of uncertainty, click here.
AUGUST ANSLEY | Comedian
August Ansley is Queer comedian in Missoula Montana, who changes their name a suspicious amount of times. When the world isn't experiencing the terror of a pandemic, they host a monthly comedy showcase in the ZACC Show Room — presenting a variety of local comedians, both experienced and new to the stage.
Learn More About August:
CHRISTINA ARMETTA | Textile Designer
Hi there! My name is Christina Armetta, I am the textile designer and botanical dyer behind Walrus Baby Textiles. I love to keep my hands busy and my heart full.
I have been in love with textiles ever since I can remember. I love creating art where you can see and feel the hands that shaped it, and where you can tell that there has been passion and precision throughout the entire process. Collaboration, I believe, is one of the ways that the whole world can be connected. I hope that everyone that comes in contact with my fabrics can also feel all the love! Please visit www.christinaarmetta.com/shop to shop my hand dyed fabrics. Thank you so much to the ZACC for selecting me and being such a big influence on the arts community in Missoula!
Learn More About Christina:
JESSE BLUMENTHAL | Artist & Educator
Jesse Blumenthal is an internationally exhibited, museum collected Artist and Educator residing in Missoula, Montana. In 2019 Blumenthal’s work received a permanent collection purchase award from The Yellowstone Art Museum, was awarded a Montana Arts Council Artists in Schools and Communities Grant supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, and received four separate regional grants to support community based foundry events. Recent public sites have included Salem Art Works, Bozeman Sculpture Park, The International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, Sculpture in the Wild, and Open AiR. Jesse was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He attended UMass Amherst, earning a BFA in Sculpture in 2007, and completed his graduate work at The University of Montana, earning an MFA in 2019.
Jesse’s studio work explores the Anthropocene by reflecting on the strains of the spaces between Man and their Environment. As an artist living in the west for the majority of his adult life, his recent work explores industrial materials and consumer technology in interdisciplinary arrangements that reflect on the natural environment of his mountain home. The clash of the natural represented within the inherently processed human material creates an ironic tension in the work that can be witnessed throughout the landscape of the industrialized west.
The high mountains of Southwestern Colorado were home base for both studio and community based art practices, rooted in the industrial arts, for almost a decade before moving to Montana in 2016. Embracing opportunity for community engagement, through the opportunities working in industrial material offers, has broadened the reach and accessibility of Blumenthal’s practice. The open inclusion of participants into Blumenthal’s artistic practice references contemporary political topics such as capitalism and socialism, social topics based around community and accessibility, and artistic movements such as Relational Aesthetics, Fluxus, and Immersive/Participatory Events.
Learn More About Jesse:
JON CARDIELLO | Musician
Wrinkles is a five piece indie rock band from Missoula, Montana. Their songs range from sparse, ominous dream pop to guitarmanized rock anthems, but are tied together with the band’s propensity for interlocking hooks and melodies. Wrinkles was started in summer 2012, and has since grown a national ‘fun-base’ with their 2016 album, Separation Anxiety and their 2019 album, Other Days. They all live in Missoula and are looking forward to working on a 3rd album to be released in 2021. Stay tuned!
Learn More About Jon & Wrinkles:
STEPHEN CLEMENT | Actor & Singer
My name is Stephen J. Clement. I am an actor and singer at the UM pursuing a BFA degree in Musical Theatre Performance. I also work with Music Recording and Graphic Design. For inquiries into these services, you can reach me at StephenJayClement@gmail.com.
Follow Stephen on Instagram:
MONICA GILLES-BRINGS YELLOW | Painter
I live in Missoula, Montana. I am a member of the BIPOC community. I am Indigenous (Mexican Cora Indian and Metis) and my family is also Bitterroot Salish. In the past year, I worked with abstract landscapes but have recently moved to portraits, mixed media, and elements of collage in my work. Currently, the focus of my work is to honor the power and resilience of Indigenous people and POC.
Follow Monica on Instagram:
TOMMY FALCON | Musician
Hello, my name is Tommy Falcon. I am a Blackfeet Indigenous person (He/Him). I come from the Blackfeet Rez to Missoula for more opportunity for creativity and friends. The past Year here has been full of nice experiences with people and lots of time to work on music and art. I now share my band Crybaby with my other POC friends and a new band with some other Browning Native friends. I have had hurdles expressing my creativity on the Rez but now that im a bit older and learned that its fine to be an individual, i would someday like to go back and teach other kids how to show who they are because its Important to be creatively expressive but for now I will continue to show who i am here in this funky town. Hopefully soon as long as it is safe we are all able to get together and listen to the fine sounds of Missoula and have a good time.
JOSH FARMER | Musician
I am so very grateful to the Missoula community for valuing artists and musicians. Whether I'm playing shows with my band, directing community choirs, or sharing the joy of music with kids, I've been able to make a career out of doing what I love in this beautiful town. Thank you to the ZACC for being a hub for community artists and especially for supporting us now during this time when we cannot gather together in person. I look forward to seeing you all soon and singing together! In the meantime, be on the lookout for my newly recorded music. THANK YOU!!
Learn More About Josh & The Josh Farmer Band:
AMBER FLAHERTY | Artist
Amber Flaherty went to art school in both Anchorage, AK and Missoula, MT where she focused equally in drawing and fiber-based sculpture. Since graduating with her BFA from Missoula a decade ago in 2010 she has been living and working in Missoula as an artist. Flaherty is currently also working at Noteworthy Paper & Press as a custom designer. One day Flaherty and her husband, Jake plan to live on the side of a big ol' mountain.
Learn More About Amber:
CHRISTIAN GUTIEREZ | Musician
I play drums for local band Dodgy Mountain Men. In 2019 we played over 100 shows all over Montana and the northwest and as far away as San Francisco and Colorado. We look forward to the opportunity to play again in the future and appreciate community support available for the arts.
Learn More About Christian & the Dodgy Mountain Men:
IVETTE KJELSRUD | Mixed Media Artist
Ivette Kjelsrud is a local mixed media artist and her tool of choice is fire. She creates fine and wearable art with encaustic wax, precious metals and combinations of both.
Learn More About Ivette:
MADELINE MIKOLON | Painter
Madeline Mikolon is a painter living and working in Missoula, Montana.
Learn More About Madeline:
ANNA MOURA | Jeweler
Anna is a born and raised Montanan, who feels she was born in the wrong time. Most of her art and jewelry is inspired by bygone eras. She has been making and selling jewelry around Missoula for over 20 years. She misses being out and downtown at shows, and seeing everyone's personal style.
Learn More About Anna:
STELLA NALL | Multimedia Artist
My name is Stella Nall, I am a multimedia artist, writer and musician living in Missoula! I graduated from the University of Montana this spring with a B.F.A. in printmaking, a B.A. in psychology and a minor in Art History/Criticism. Before the virus, I was active in the local art & music scene with frequent art showings, music shows with my bandmates in our indie-ish band Cry Baby, and through occasional poetry readings and comedy.
Learn More About Stella:
Follow Stella on Instagram:
LAURA BLUE PALMER | Painter
I was born in Roanoke, Virginia. I moved to Montana in 1994, and studied fine art at the University of Montana in Missoula for two years. I completed my formal art education at the San Francisco Art Institute, earning a BFA in 1999. City life was exciting, but my affection towards Montana was too strong, and I returned to the Big Sky state in 2000.
Today, I make my home in Missoula where I paint in my studio. I have a true passion for the wild spaces of the west, as I document my experiences of nature in evocative abstract landscapes. I love to work with color and light in representing the moods and places I have seen in the wilderness. I have backpacked extensively in Montana, Canada, Wyoming, and Alaska, and draw on these locations to create my oils. My work is as much about memory as it is about place. I look upon my paintings as a map of my life, which I am constantly creating.
Learn More About Laura:
CHRIS SAND | Musician
I grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. I released my first CD in 1996, which was followed by a dozen more over the next twenty years. I tour throughout the U.S. and Canada, performing a unique blend of original folk, punk, rap, and cowboy music. In 2008 I was the focus of a feature-length award-winning documentary, ROLL OUT, COWBOY, which continues to play at film festivals in North America and Europe. Out of choice and necessity, I keep my life simple. I perform and tour on a shoestring budget. I’ve played the same guitar for over 25 years. I still rock my old Casio Rapman. I drive a 23-year-old Toyota pickup. In 2012, I became the proud dad of daughter Stevie and took a three-year break from music. We live in Missoula, MT, where I work at The Roxy Theater.
What motivates me? I want to be part of a wave of change that makes life better for everyone — more fun, more fair, more holy. I use humor, music, and poetry to tell stories, build connections, and get people thinking. I’m grateful that the world is filled with weird and unexpected beauty — great inspiration for my songs!
SUGAR BUSH | Comedian
Sugar Bush has been performing stand up, improv, and sketch comedy in Missoula since 2013. He was one of Montana's first openly queer comedians. He has performed with Missoula's Homegrown Comedy, Todd Lankton and the Family Band, Revival Comedy, Stensrud Improv, Highline Comedy, and many more.
In addition to stand up, Sugar is pursuing a BFA in Acting at The University of Montana. He recently appeared as the title character in Anne Washburn's "Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play."
He has also served as MC at The Bender Jamboree (a bluegrass festival in Las Vegas) and the more local Silver Cloud Campout held in Haugan, MT.
APRIL WERLE | Painter & Muralist
Since receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing from the University of Montana in 2017, Filipino-American International Muralist April Werle has been wall hunting, ticking countries off her list from the shores of Morocco, to islands of Malaysia, the mountains of Montana, and walls in between. Werle’s bursting-of-color murals and works on panel offer short narratives inspired by her navigation through her cultural upbringing and travels to foreign places. Her recurring characters, recognized as hand gestures, existing and interacting within their constructed environments, represent themes of the classic coming-of-age tales, exploring who we are and how we navigate through society as we follow our own true identities.
Learn More About April:
Follow April on Instagram:
BRADLEY DICKSON | Musician & Performer
Sticky People is music made by Bradley Dickson. It tends to be electronic and dancy, at least at the moment. COVID-19 has stopped Sticky People from performing in public, though it has blessed Sticky People with ample time to put together an album, which will be released soon, or at a strategically chosen time. Like when it can be properly promoted with live events.
Learn More About Bradley:
Like Sticky People on Facebook:
MOLLY BUCHANAN | Musician & Performer
Molly is a member of the band Tormi, an art pop/art rock group in Missoula. Tormi's current members are Molly Buchanan, Rob Cave, and Cole Bronson. Their instrumentation has featured trumpet, saxophone, and analog synth, but lately they have minimized the line-up to focus on honing their songwriting craft.
Their upcoming album will bring forth musings on subjects like adoption, race, and mental health. Check out this link for a music video Marshall Granger filmed with them!
Follow Tormi on Instagram:
CORY FAY | Musician & Performer
Bio written by Josh Wagner:
See the boy with the cheap Silvertone guitar. It cost his Grampy a whole 72 bucks way back in 1962, standing in line at Sears behind an old woman and her moon landing play set. Skip to the year 2000. You can almost hear the old hand offer up the family axe for a second time. This here’s a two-tone achromatic wonder, his Grampy tells him, made of vinyl, fingersweat and pumpkin spice. A silver lipstick canister for a pickup. Once upon a time it belonged to your father. Now it’s yours.
His family are gardeners. They teach him how seeds take a long time to grow and how people tend to want give up on plants that don’t seem to succeed right away. But, Grammy says, they’ll usually surprise you. And in this vein the boy starts cultivating songs.
Friends and towns and jobs and bands wash over him like spring rain as he tends his baby sprouts. A handful of slow roasted melodies grow in makeshift studios until he has a full harvest.
On a clear day you’ll find him out in the pastures gathering wildflower seeds and tuning those old family strings to nitrogen levels in the soil. Go on then. It’s okay. Kneel down to gather up the fallen fruit. You might see something like indie rock printed alongside, but I assure you these crops are 100% pure uncut dirt-core, glam-country, story-wave toil of the land, pollinated by the same swarms of bees to which the boy is allergic and from whose sting once he nearly died.
But he didn’t. In fact, that boy’s never died.
Not even once.
Listen to Cory's Music:
LATISHA BUCKELKTHUNDER | Jeweler
Contemporary Indigenous Creations made with love and care by Latisha Buck Elk Thunder, a Blackfeet/Navajo woman who aims to create adornments that symbolize what it means to be fierce and strong.
Shop Latisha's Work:
Follow Latisha on Instagram:
SARAH ASWELL | Writer & Comedian
Sarah Aswell is a writer and comedian whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, MAD Magazine, National Lampoon, The Advocate, and Vulture, among others. An alum of HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival and the Big Sky Comedy Festival, Thrillist recently named her one of the Best Unknown Comedians in America, which is one of those compliments that’s also kind of an insult. Sarah currently lives in Missoula, Montana, with her partner and two children, where she runs a comedy organization focused on increasing the representation of historically marginalized groups on stage.
Visit Sarah's Website:
Read Recent Work by Sarah:
SEAN BURRESS | Musician & Performer
Sean Howard, aka the ptesseract, uses a looper, drum machine, sampler and a variety of instruments to create a sonic wonderland that is based on a symbiotic balance of composition and improvisation. He also performs with bands such as Red Onion Purple, Brute Finesse, Mirror Gods, and Off in the Woods.
Learn More About Sean:
Watch Sean Perform:
REID REIMERS | Actor & Emcee
Reid was born and raised in Missoula and has been performing for 33 years. He's also taught theatre to thousands of kids around the state and country. Best known for playing Frank N' Furter in the annual production of The Rocky Horror Show Live, he's been a staple on the many "Best Local Actor" lists, as well as hosting Kraptastic Karaoke at the Badlander, Downtown Tonight in Caras Park each summer, and the YouTube-based science series SciShow Space.
Learn More About Reid:
BARB SCHWARZ KARST | Painter
Each painting has its own language, dialect, and story. As a painter, one must carry on a dialog with each and every creation, allowing it to honestly speak. It is the job of the painter to translate this narrative with such uninhibited conviction, through each purposeful stroke, that the heir can empathetically transform the ordinary into the sublime.
Learn More About Barb:
LHANNA WRITESEL | Musician & Performer
Ever since its inception in 2013 in Missoula, Montana, Letter B has never stopped. Born from a thought and a beat, a cadence and a rhyme – a bouncing ball bellowing under the big sky – the folk/rock/indie-hip- pop group draws inspiration from the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, Atmosphere and Ray Lamontagne to blend its down-home roots with a global perspective. Jarod Kintz once said, “I want to be a creature that’s half bee, half the letter b. that way i can pollinate the world with my literacy.” Comprised of a preacher’s progeny, duo Jordan Lane (lead vocals, guitar) and Katie C. (vocals) bring their gospel feel alongside Michael English (drums), Lhanna Writesel (sax), and Dillon Johns (bass) to create an endless supply of energy. Katie C’s spoken word poem from which the band draws its name can be found on its debut album “Moving Forward.” “Letter B is a band that inspires movement and freedom, and we just like to celebrate. Our album Moving Forward’ is about the next level of consciousness. It’s a freedom of togetherness.”
MAX MAHN | Printmaker
Max Mahn is an illustrator and printmaker based out of his home town Missoula, MT, working under the pseudonym Twin Home Prints. After nearly 10 years working exclusively with spray paint as a part of the underground graffiti culture, Max shifted gears and created Twin Home in 2014 just as he finished his BFA degree from the University of Montana. While incorporating his years of experience with a spray can into his bold and whimsical illustrations and design, Max began to find his niche in the screen printed gig poster world. Following this passion for years to follow, Max has gone to create limited edition prints for some of todays largest national touring bands including Wilco, The Melvins, Trey Anastasio, Primus, and Andrew Bird.
Learn More About Max:
Follow Max on Instagram:
KURT SKRIVSETH | Musican & Sound Engineer
I'm a bassist/guitarist/sound engineer in Missoula, MT. I perform with my own band Pale People and in assorted other jazz and musical theater productions. Here's the video my band made for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest the day before the quarantine went into effect: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPuXspgXFbY
Learn More About Kurt:
JOSEPH KELLOGG | Actor
Joseph Kellogg began acting late in life, playing Eddie in the 2015 production of Rocky Horror Show Live. Following RHPS, he performed in several plays at MCT – helping in the ensemble cast of The Little Mermaid, playing the manager in Elf: The Musical, and most recently as Governor Roosevelt in Disney’s Newsies. He has worked to develop his film presence as well, playing in several premiere and short films and local commercials. Aside from acting, Joseph is a member of the City of Missoula Public Art Committee, and a member of the board of directors at the LGBTIQ+ Community Center.
Joseph has two cats, and loves dancing, camping in the summer, and floating listlessly down the Clark Fork.
STEPHANIE HOHN | Musician & Printmaker
I use the printing skills I learned at the ZACC to make merch for our band, Aggressive Pedestrian. While we haven’t been able to perform I have been focusing on producing a radio drama (The Spookytown Radio Show) and a podcast where I review YA horse books with a friend (Pasture Bedtime) both on streaming services thanks to KBGA! Aggressive Pedestrian is planning to use these funds to record our new album.
Follow Stephanie on Instagram:
DONAL LAKATUA | Photographer
Dónal Lakatua is a Missoula photographer and documentarian. He documents live music, performance art and other events relevant to the artistic economy of Missoula.
Learn More About Dónal:
DYLAN RUNNING CRANE | Musician
Follow Dylan on Instagram:
JEFF TROXEL | Musician
Jeff Troxel is a guitarist, songwriter, composer, and music professor at the University of Montana. He holds music degrees from Northwest College, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Southern California. He has taught at USC, the University of Laverne, Northwest College, and is on the faculty of several music camps. Jeff has won state flatpicking championships in Wyoming and Utah, and is the 2003 national champion. He is a two-time recipient of a performing arts fellowship in composition from the Wyoming Arts Council, and is the author of several instructional guitar books published by Mel Bay.
Learn More About Max: