MISSOULA — A nonprofit group that focuses on cultivating community through accessible arts now has a new place to call home.
The Zootown Arts Community Center held a special grand opening on Thursday to showcase its new and improved creative habitat after years of trying to find a new location.
But in order to get here it’s taken hours and hours and hours of dedication
The Zootown Arts Community Center was previously located on North First Street West, but was quickly outgrowing the space.
It had a multi-million dollar plan to move downtown, and on Thursday, the staff held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new location.
Tears were shed as Executive Director Kia Liszak spoke to the audience about the process, and losing her mom along the way.
“It just seemed impossible, and now with the community support it has become a reality, so we're really excited,” Liszak said.
The ZACC has been planning to move for the past seven years and is now finally in the historic Studebaker building in downtown Missoula
The new building cost $3.5 million. Located at 216 West Main Street, the Studebaker is multiple stories and twice the size of the old ZACC location.
Artist Lukas Phelan says now the organization has plenty of room to grow.
“It's just a nice place for anyone regardless of where they come from, or their background, or how much money they make, to come here and make something meaningful for the community,”
A pottery studio, art gallery, community art supply closet, 400 person theater, and music area are just some of the amenities in the new building.
“People of all ages can come and make art, regardless of whether they have any experience or perceived talent,” Phelan said.
“Our rock camps, most of the kids who join them don't know how to play music, and we just give them a loud instrument and a venue to express themselves and they usually do amazing weird beautiful things.”
Renovations started this spring, and now the building is painted and just about ready for the public. “Somebody recently called us the YMCA of the arts, and I was like yeah that is kind of what,” Liszak said.
The finishing touches will be completed in the coming weeks, including opening the upstairs and a room dedicated to Liszak's late mother.
The fifth annual Missoula Monster Project will be on display at 5 p.m. on Friday.