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Stepping away from routine this month, the Zootown Arts Community Center opens its doors on Friday for an unusual juried group art show.

“The call to artists was basically to submit something that was inspired by the Festival of the Dead or the interpretation of life and death in general,” said Kia Liszak, ZACC executive director.

“Some of the pieces we are showing are very inspired by skeletons and El Dia de los Muertos, and other artists have gone in other directions that reflect their own experience with loss,” she said. “It’s a little bit of everything.”

With 27 artists participating, it’s fair to say the thematic show also is an eclectic one that showcases a variety of artistic mediums.

Bev Glueckert, Courtney Blazon, Andy Smetanka and Elisha Thomas are among the many artists whose work is represented in the group showing.

Because ZACC is working closely with the Festival of the Dead committee, which organizes the annual Festival of the Dead parade, a silent auction will also take place on Friday to raise funds for the parade.

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ZACC is also hosting a free family silk screen during the Friday group art show, where people can bring a T-shirt to silk screen a design made especially for the 20th anniversary of Missoula’s annual Festival of the Dead. For those who don’t want to bring a shirt, ZACC will have shirts with the festival design for purchase.

Festival of the Dead committee members will judge the artwork and pick first through third placings at 7 p.m.

Judging will be difficult, Liszak said.

“I think this is a really great show with a lot of interesting pieces,” she said. “I don’t think anyone in Missoula has done this show before, with this kind of inspiration.

“I think it’s a really powerful concept.”

Reporter Betsy Cohen can be reached at 523-5253 or at bcohen@missoulian.com.

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