By Sherry Devlin/Missoula Current

Missoula County Public Schools students will show off the talents they’ve honed this year as part of the Spark! Arts Ignite Learning program during an evening of programs at the Wilma on Friday, May 5.

Students and Spark! artist-teachers will perform dance, drumming, theater and storytelling throughout the evening. All events are free. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

The lineup includes street performances and interactive visual arts projects outside the theater. Inside, visitors can browse the visual arts gallery; view a wide array of student-created films; hop on the dance floor for swing dancing, creative movement and African dance; and watch young thespians and storytellers showcase their skills.

Visitors can come and go as they please, watching one or all of the programs. The evening will conclude with an 8 p.m. performance by Eden Atwood with The Bespectacled and Simone Fielding.

This school year, MCPS students in grades K-8 have received an extra 700 hours of arts education through the public-private Spark! Arts Ignite Learning program.

Spark! is a national partner in the John F. Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Initiative.

According to Spark! director Jackalynn Snow: “We believe that the Arts have the power to ignite the imagination, spark innovation through creativity, and transform learning.”

Spark! works in collaboration with artists, classroom teachers, University of Montana staff, MCPS school administration, and volunteers to ensure that the arts are an essential part of every school day for every child.


Here is the schedule of artists and presentations for the Friday, May 5 showcase:

Starting at 4:30 and continuing through the evening:

Interactive Visual Arts Project with Alison Rientjes

Live Street Performances by MCPS Students

Visual Arts Gallery featuring work created by Franklin, Lewis and Clark, Rattlesnake, Cold Springs, Lowell, Chief Charlo, Meadow Hill, and Big Sky students.

4:45 p.m.: Meadow Hill Dixieland Band

5 p.m.: Dance with Jordan Dehline Burt and Russell 2nd Grade; Hellgate Brass Band

5:30 p.m.: Theatre with Amy Lariviere and MCPS elementary students; Big Sky Brass Band

6 p.m.: African Dance and Music with Tarn Ream and Hawthorne 2nd graders

6:30 p.m.: Swing Dancing with Heather Adams and MCPS Middle School Students; Sentinel Jazz Band

7 p.m.: Student Films with the Roxy Film Academy created by MCPS Middle and Elementary School Students

7:30 p.m.: Storytelling with Marc Moss and Washington students

8 p.m.: The Bespectacled with Eden Atwood and Simone Fielding