Big Issues under the Big Sky

What a week. After 37 hours in a car, we made it to Missoula, and our world was rocked. Week 1 of 120 Project included radical inspiration and moving moments. Here’s a taste of what we witnessed, documented, learned.

Wrote letters to senators and representatives at the Missoula Rises Civic Action Work Party where we also shared good laughs and origin stories.

“Gave a Shit”, as Forward Montana would proclaim while we did some Voter Registration with them. (In addition to meeting one of their Field Managers, Michael Nelson, who has our vote, should he run for office!)

Wrote postcards to Ryan Zinke with Montana Conservation Voters; made plans to collaborate with an MCV community organizer who loves composing music for dance!

Spoke at a county elections advisory committee meeting in favor of empowering voters. (This wasn’t planned; Sarah was super inspired by the eloquent public comments of other Missoulans, including aforementioned Forward Montana Field Manager Nelson.)

Witnessed the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC) workshop participants in action at the Slapstick Comedy Showcase; fell in love with art teacher Karlene Kantner and her philosophy on perspective and upside down jumbo art projects! (Asked if we could come back and dance in their basement venue.)

Met with Dr. Abraham Kim, Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, to learn about Montana’s mystique, civic legacy, and initiatives for cultural diplomacy, leadership, and Asian-American relations. (Asked if we could come back for the Art of Diplomacy Conference in January 2018!)

Ran SLICED: Missoula Edition – a dance relay to radiate peace – on the sidewalk in front of an old radiator business, and next to a pizza parlour.

Offered community workshops in dance and comics at Imagine Nation Brewing Co. Made some dance and comics about social justice bipartisan issues.

Conducted 10 sit-down, in-depth interviews with community stakeholders and organizers.

Talked about: public lands, water issues, our polarized country, gun laws, the youth vote, empowered electorate, public art, community art, civic action, social justice, using your physicality to build bridges instead of slam reporters, and good beer.

Drank the best lattes at Zootown Brew. Sipped the best frappucinos at Liquid Planet. Enjoyed delicious fare courtesy of Good Food Store. Devoured the best pizza pies at Biga Pizza. Talked the most awesome talk with Missoulans. Drank beer with rad titles that inspire activism and recall radical activists at Imagine Nation Brewing Co.

Came up with ill-advised names for our road band; came up with bad groupee names too, because, obviously.

Decided to move here. (We’re kind of serious.)

THANK YOU, MISSOULA. We are stoked to share your stories via Emily’s StoryCorps Compilation and our 120 Documentary. We are honored to share your concerns in our comic book anthology.

We will leave you with a teaser from Imagine Nation Brewing Co. Co-founders Fernanda Menna Barreto Krum and Robert Rivers.

It’s Sunday, and we’re off to Arizona for Week 2!

From the road, Sarah, Oliver, and Emily