Read up on SPARK! In the News
December 31, 2017 – Missoulian
“Scrap of all kinds awaited families to be turned into art Sunday afternoon in the University Center to kick off First Night Missoula festivities.” Link to Full Article
November 2, 2017 – Pathfinder
“SEELEY LAKE – Seeley-Swan High School started incorporating the SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning program this year in Dr. Kathleen Pecora’s senior English Class. The two-hour photography lesson was incorporated with a personal essay and artifact that the students brought in that pertained to the story that was shared. While the students wished they’d had more time to practice the photography concepts they were taught, they each learned something new.” Link to Full Article
May 4, 2017 – Missoulian
“SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning will present its first annual Spring Showcase on Friday, May 5, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wilma in downtown Missoula.
The First Friday event will feature presentations by a variety Missoula County Public Schools K-8 students. Students and SPARK! artists and organizations will be performing dance, drumming, theater and storytelling throughout the evening. You can view student-created films and a gallery of visual art works made through SPARK! residencies. This event is free to the public.” Link to full article
“Spark! officially kicked off its fourth year in Missoula classrooms with a recent reception honoring its teaching artists and welcoming director Jackalynn Snow.
Hosted by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Missoula Community Theater, the reception also marked the start of the second full year of Spark! residencies and programs in K-5 classrooms across Missoula County Public Schools, along with the launch of Spark! in middle schools.” Link to full article
May 5, 2017 – 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.” Link to full article
April 28, 2017 – KPAX
“MISSOULA – Students can learn about any insect through a textbook but kindergarteners at Cold Springs School in Missoula are learning about them a little differently.
KC Sherman headed out to learn more about what’s going on in this week’s Arts and Education report.
Mr. Schaeffer’s kindergarten class at Cold Springs School is doing a unit on butterflies and their lifecycle b. But, his students aren’t just learning about butterfly metamorphosis while sitting at a desk.
Instead, Teresa Waldorf, a University of Montana theater instructor — and a teaching artist for SPARK! — joined the class to help them learn through creative drama.”Link to full article
February 24, 2017 – KRTV
“MISSOULA -While film directors may be used to a theater full of film enthusiasts and movie critics it’s not often that they screen their film to a room full of third graders.
In this week’s Arts and Education story KC Sherman headed to the Roxy Theater where Missoula third grade students got the chance to view documentaries from the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.” Link to full article
February 3, 2017 – KPAX
“Ecology is typically taught using textbooks and class notes, but one elementary class in Missoula is proving that it can be taught just as effectively through the use of acting.
MTN News visited with fifth-grade students at Chief Charlo Elementary School for this Arts in Education report to learn how they use theater arts to learn about the ecosystem.” Link to full article
December 31, 2016 – Missoulian
“Matt Tobiason, 9, saw his artwork hanging in the University Center Gallery on Saturday, and the experience astounded him.
“I’ve never had work in a gallery before, so it’s just amazing and really interesting to see it,” Tobiason said.
The fourth grader was visiting the UC on the University of Montana campus as part of First Night Missoula. Hosted by Arts Missoula, First Night bills itself as “12 hours of the best in local music, hands-on fun, family entertainment, and breathtaking performances.” Link to full article
December 31, 2016 – NBC Montana
“Missoula, Mont. – Missoulians celebrated New Years Eve early with the 23rd annual First Night Missoula Saturday afternoon.
There were more than 75 events happening around town – one being the art gallery featuring students from Chief Charlo School.
SPARK director Jackalynn Snow helped get the student’s art displayed at the University Center Gallery. She says the kids are amazed when they see their art on the wall.
“It is normal for them to have it displayed at school and have parents come see, but to have it in public in a real gallery with the beautiful lighting and everyone here, I think it is really exciting.”
SPARK’s goal is to get more art opportunities into schools for children.” Link to full article
November 21, 2016 – KPAX
“While most elementary students are taught verbs and adverbs with worksheets and whiteboards, the students at Rattlesnake Elementary School approach these subjects a little differently…” Link to full article
October 28, 2016 – KPAX
“KPAX is partnering up with Allegiance Benefit Plan Management and Missoula County Public Schools on a new program that integrates the fine arts into your child’s classroom education.
In a community so rich in arts it comes as no surprise that arts integration takes center stage in the education of nearly 9,000 students in the Missoula County Public Schools District.” Link to full article
September 18, 2016 – Missoulian
“One audition, and Jackalynn Snow was hooked.
It was in sixth grade, and Snow got the part as Clara in “The Nutcracker.” She remembers the adrenaline surging through her body as she stepped on stage. It cemented her love of theater and set her on a path to her desk today: director of SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning.
SPARK is Missoula’s arm of the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative, an effort to expand arts education in grades K-8. SPARK is the only Any Given Child program in Montana, and it’s the smallest nationwide.” Link to full article
September 8, 2016 – Missoulian
“The nonprofit arts center kicked off the project two years ago. It originated with Asa Smetanka, the young son of local artist and filmmaker Andy Smetanka, who rented studio facilities at the ZACC. Asa liked drawing monsters, and came up with the idea that adults could interpret his creations.
About 12 artists participated and the next year it teamed with Missoula County Public Schools through Spark!, which helps bring arts programming to schools.” Link to full article
January 16, 2016 – Missoulian
“Chris Neely, the executive director of SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning, said the donation will be used to increase arts education at the Missoula County Public Schools’ three middle schools. SPARK! is the Missoula branch of the Kennedy Center’s nationwide Any Given Child initiative, which works to expand the potential for arts education.” Link to full article
April 27th, 2015 – Missoulian
“Arts are an “on-ramp” to math and science for students. Sometimes, though, teachers stall and become anxious when it comes to integrating the arts into their classrooms. ‘Drawing is only a tiny bit easier than doing math,’ said Seena Demmons, an instructional coach at Missoula County Public Schools.” Link to Full Article
March 31, 2015 – Make it Missoula
“In a climate nationwide where the idea of increasing rather than subtracting arts resources and staff in public schools was almost laughable, SPARK’s efforts in the first year of implementation alone (which isn’t even over yet) have reached over 5,400 students and more than 120 teachers in the district. The impact we are already seeing in the schools has encouraged MCPS to increase the amount of arts teachers in elementary schools.” Link to full article