More Than 1,500 Students Tour Montana Museum of Art & Culture

May 20, 2015

A young art enthusiast contemplates a painting on display at the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana.

MISSOULA – Since the opening of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture’s “The Art of the State: Celebrating 120 Years of the MMAC Permanent Collection,” more than 1,500 school-aged children have toured the show. Groups of second- and seventh-grade classes visited the museum at the University of Montana with the help of SPARK! Any Given Child Missoula and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The collaboration brought museum docents to area schools to present artwork at assemblies where young people learned more about MMAC’s Permanent Collection. After the presentations, classes toured the exhibition to experience the collection in person. Students from as far as Thompson Falls and Arlee participated in the program. In addition to SPARK! Any Given Child Missoula tours, students from all grades in both public and private schools viewed the exhibition on field trips. UM students, faculty, staff and administration also made many visits to the MMAC galleries.

“Partnering with SPARK! Any Given Child Missoula has been an incredible opportunity for our museum to share Montana’s Permanent Collection with more Missoula County Public Schools students than ever before,” said MMAC Director Barbara Koostra. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with our wonderful docents to educate children who, in some cases, have never before visited a museum.”

With support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, reproductions of artwork from the Permanent Collection were given to participating schools, along with a hardbound book of “The Art of the State: 120 Artworks for 120 Years.” At the end of the school year the remaining reproductions will be transformed into a visual lending library for MCPS schools to continue engaging students with MMAC’s Permanent Collection.

“It’s been a joyous experience with all grades,” said docent Anita Kurtz-Magee. “I love doing it.”

Holding the largest collection of art in Montana, including significant historic and contemporary artwork, MMAC is committed to connecting the region with one of the oldest and most prominent fine art collections in the Rocky Mountain Northwest. MMAC serves more than 10,000 Montanans annually through art exhibitions, lectures and other arts programming.

The public can visit “The Art of the State: Celebrating 120 Years of the MMAC Permanent Collection” through Saturday, May 23.  MMAC is located in the Paxson and Meloy galleries of the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at UM. The museum’s summer hours are from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Friday. A $5 donation is suggested.

Contact: Barbara Koostra, director, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2020,; Jessica Vizzutti, programs, publications and fiscal coordinator, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019,