About Us


mission

to empower, inspire and prepare Montana’s next generation for future success through professional media arts instruction, engaging community service and compassionate mentoring

vision

a world which values the voice and work of all youth and supports them in creating successful futures


values

EDUCATION

provide professional instruction & equipment for STEAM based media arts curriculums

MENTORSHIP

support and empower the next generation through meaningful relationships

CREATIVITY

encourage and inspire imagination, self-expression, and artistry

COMMUNITY

nurture meaningful relationships and effective collaborations

HEALTH

create an environment that supports physical, mental, social, and creative well being

DIVERSITY

recognize, understand and respect individual beliefs, cultures, abilities and perspectives

STORY

promote the sharing of stories and critical dialogue

INNOVATION

continual evolution of forward thinking strategies


crew

meet the staff who make MAPS happen


Clare Ann Harff
Executive Director

The Short:

Clare Ann (“CA”) is a devoted mom, artist, caring educator, arts advocate, community activitst, bike rider, music lover, journaler and avid book reader. 

The Long: 

CA joined the MAPS team in 2013 as a program developer and artist-instructor. She accepted the Executive Director role in 2016. Her compassionate and thoughtful leadership coupled with MAPS established history and collaborative environment, has helped this educational media arts nonprofit grow, especially in other rural and First Nation communities.

Prior to joining MAPS, CA built a creative studio/art space (1996 – present) and was a co-owner of two Missoula galleries (2006 – 2015), 

After earning a BFA in Visual Art from the University of Montana in 1996, CA co-founded The Clay Studio of Missoula, served as the Executive Director until 2002 and served on the BOD until 2013. 

Before 1996, CA studied at lots of arts & crafts schools, apprenticed for several years as a bread baker and pastry chef, travelled whenever she could, read and read some more, sought out the misfits and round pegs in square holes, and dove in heart first to many, many, many unknowns. Little did she know how these things would help her prepare for working in the nonprofit world…

Superpower: Juggling Bumblebees


Janna Williams
Communications & Marketing Director

Through her work as an opera singer, Janna found the creative world of communications and marketing – a field where she has worked for 20 years. She has worked with medical clientele during this time, including internal medicine specialists, oncologists, dentists, orthodontists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Outside the medical field, Janna works closely with local artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and nonprofits to tell their stories that resonate with their fans, investors, peers, and donors while also complementing their values, branding, web presence, and media. In 2017 Janna returned to Montana where she continued this work, originally with Intermountain relating to the mental and behavioral health needs of children, and now with MAPS Media Institute where she applies her skillset, sensitivity, and passion for the well-being of Montana’s youth to the work of this nonprofit.

Superpower: Capable of doing anything (if it’s surgery she needs a YouTube tutorial)


Arielle Rhodz
Lead Instructor

As a student-centered educator since 2004, Arielle Rhodz (M.Ed) is skilled in building strong relationships based on mutual respect. Her candid counsel encourages students to optimize self-reflection and ignite their potential for personal empowerment. Arielle has always championed MAPS and has connected students with the opportunities it provides for many years. After serving on the Board of Directors (2018 – 2023), Arielle joined the MAPS Team to share her skills and support instructors as Lead Teacher.

Superpower: Ignition Specialist


Hunter Nickel
IT Director

Hailing from Michigan, Hunter moved to Hamilton, Montana in 2018 and with the help of some locals, learned about MAPS. Originally he only planned to become a MAPS student, but with a heap of techno-experience in tow, he was offered to join the crew as a teaching assistant. Nowadays, he helps out MAPS in a variety of ways, including assisting with facility maintenance, designing digital and print media for MAPS, and being the local IT wizard when Bill is not around.

Superpower: Turn electricity into art


Amilia Blackcrow
MAPS Media Lab Assistant

Amilia has wanted to be a filmmaker since her childhood days of wearing down VHS tapes of her favorite movies! She participated in numerous MAPS workshops from 2018 to 2022 when she attended Harlem High School near the Fort Belknap Indian Community in North Central Montana. Several of the films she co-directed won regional awards. Two were nominated for the National High Student Production Awards from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the organization behind the Emmys). The films are powerful and intimate stories exploring the struggle to preserve the Aaniiih and Nakoda ways of life, cultural identification, and blood quantum. In the summer of 2023, Amilia served with MAPS as a Summer AmeriCorps. She continues to co-design and develop workshop ideas to make sure MAPS programming is relevant and connects with all youth.

Superpower: Compassionate and BOLD storyteller


Cove Jasmin
Music Instructor

Born and raised in Montana, Cove has been playing music for most of his life. While Cove is a drummer by trade, he also sings and plays other instruments, including piano, bass, and guitar. In his lessons, he helps students practice the fundamentals while keeping the importance of rhythm and “feel” the core of his teaching methodology. He currently plays with the traveling bands, Shakewell and Shark Buffalo, and has been deeply involved in the Missoula music scene for many years, playing with groups such as Kung Fu Kongress, Three Eared Dog, Joan Zen, and sitting in with many more. Cove believes that music has a unique power to bring people of all backgrounds together and enrich communities all over the world, and it’s his passion to help others find their own joy through creative expression.

Superpower: Sometimes mistaken for a sheltered bay area


John Springer
Tech Instructor

A citizen of the U.S. and Mexico, John is neck-deep in technology, video-making, and all things science. In addition to being featured on the Discovery and Science TV channels, John has a B.S. in Science Education from Montana State University and directs the Bitterroot College Fabrication Lab. He holds a B.A. in Science Education from Montana State University, and teaching high school across the state has honed his ability in motivating students to be capable and curious creators. John wants to help people transform the best of their imagination into real-world solutions.

Superpower: Copying and giving people’s powers to myself and others


Jules Schoebel
Tech/Design Instructor

Jules is an artist from Helena, MT whose earliest memories include painting and drawing. She has her BFA in in Media Arts and Animation and her current digital art path includes everything from game and character design to posters. Jules is the Events Coordinator and Online Marketing Director for the Holter Museum of Art.

Superpower: Herding Catz


Alex Small
Podcast Instructor

Alex Small learned to play drums at eight, taught himself piano at twenty, and began recording music at twenty-one. He settled down, stopped playing in bands, and began creating podcasts eleven years later.  Alex started a podcasting network in 2014 and turned it into a company seven years later. He joined the Last Chance Public Radio Board shortly after. He has helped create twenty-five different shows produced over 1200 episodes, with three shows playing on the radio in multiple markets.

Superpower: Inspiring “ah ha” moments!