MISSOULA – This week’s Arts and Education report features SPARK! Missoula, a nationally recognized organization that’s bringing the visual arts to Western Montana.
SPARK! Missoula is one of 25 sites across the country to team up with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. to bring the Any Given Child Initiative to Missoula.
The program focuses on ensuring equal access to diverse arts learning opportunities for any given child in our community. SPARK! Missoula Director Jackalynn Snow has her background in teaching, so she knows first hand just how important a program like this can be.
“The more I used theater in my English classroom, the more I noticed that students would engage and the classroom community would change. Kids were more accepting of one another and more willing to take academic risks,” Snow said. “They would also just pay attention better rather than being bored. So, the more that I did that, the more I started trying other forms of art.”
SPARK! coordinators actively work with each teacher to come up with a program that is fun and educational at the same time. Snow told MTN News that it’s during these times you can really see what a difference art can make.
“I see students have that light bulb go on when they just didn’t get a concept, then all of a sudden when they put it through their body, using dance, they get it,” Snow said. “It also helps kids get along with one another and helps them make new friends.”
If you have questions or want to experience the impact of SPARK! for yourself, make plans to head down to the Wilma, on Friday, May 4th for the second annual “SPARK!, Spring Showcase” where you can experience the artwork featuring Missoula County Public School Students.
“It’s really a celebration of all the arts we have had going on in the schools all year long. And it is free to the public,” Snow said. “There will be some auctions and some free giveaways on raffles along with the opportunities to make art and experience performances. It will be a really good time.”
The event will take place from 5:15 p,m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Wilma Theater.
Reporting by Lewis Dortch for MTN News