Missoula’s Latest First Friday


Marilyn Lysohir’s recent art exhibit featured at the Missoula Art Museums First Friday show. Photo Courtesy of Ila Bell

Ila Bell, Reporter


On Friday, Oct. 7, Missoula’s downtown was busy with art openings, music, and new shops during another one of Missoula’s staple events, “First Friday”. The first Friday of every month, businesses and galleries have one of their biggest nights as Missoulians shuffle in and out throughout the evening and gather as a community to support the local businesses.

In this month’s First Friday, there were a multitude of new art openings from spaces such as the Missoula Art Museum, Radius Gallery, and the Zootown Arts Community Center. Live music was playing throughout downtown in Break Espresso, Cranky Sams Public House, and the ZACC. Pearl Boba Tea was also hosting artists in collaboration with the Makers Market in their store. 

The Missoula Art Museum (MAM) hosted a show called “Imagining the Spirited” featuring three young female artists. The art opening was busy on all floors of the MAM and brought in a large portion of the Missoula artist community. Alongside the MAM, the Radius Gallery brought in two artists to be a part of their First Friday opening. Kristen Hager was featured in the upstairs gallery in her show titled, “Love Letters to Missoula” depicting different locations around missoula. Heesoo Lee was in the lower gallery with her show titled “Life/Journey”. The show was centered around her ceramic pieces of flowers and plants from the natural world. On the other side of Higgans, Pearl Boba Tea hosted an artist from the Makers Market to display in their store. Alexis Hove Studios was featured, showing different pieces for Halloween and the fall holidays. 

At the ZACC, “The Monster Project ” was going on for their annual show. The Monster Project, a common Missoula favorite, consists of a collection of Missoula kids’ monster drawings and local artists’ interpretations of the monsters. The 2022 Monster Show brought kids in from Chief Charlo, Lowell, and Franklin Elementary to be the inspiration for the project. Adult artists from all around Montana worked with these students to create versions of their monsters. This brings in a lot of traffic to the ZACC’s main gallery as parents and artists visit their pieces, and new people stop in. The monster project was a large success and a big part of this month’s First Friday.

As far as music, Lukas Ray Yacht was performing in Break Espresso. Cranky Sams Public House was hosting local Montana band, “North Fork Crossing ”. Bluegrass music, true to Missoula’s First Fridays, was playing out of many coffee shops and restaurants on Oct. 7.

First Friday brings new people and new art into Missoula’s downtown. A chance for the Missoula community to come together and have an event every month brings small businesses recognition and traffic which helps our local shops and galleries thrive. The next First Friday will be on Nov. 4 and you can expect more music and new art openings with the new month.