Letter From Montana Arts Council

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

400 Seventh Street SW Washington, DC 20506

Dear Awards Committee:

Re: MAPS Media Institute

I am delighted to write a letter of support for MAPS Media Institute, one of the finest arts learning programs for youth currently operating in the state of Montana. Through top-flight instruction in media arts, MAPS is creating the next generation of young people with the artistic and business skills to be the entrepreneurs and innovators of the future.

Founder Peter Rosten came to Ravalli County, Montana just over a decade ago after a successful producing career in Hollywood, with a vision to create an afterschool program to teach teens the art of film, video, music and technology production. This was an audacious goal in an economically struggling rural community with a high poverty rate. The Montana Arts Council was one of the first funders to support Peter’s vision for MAPS. Twelve years later, MAPS has their own building with top-shelf technology, a staff of highly-qualified teaching artists to guide student learning, and many success stories. Students in MAPS are required to stay in high school to participate, and MAPS staff can share many stories of how students found success through MAPS that eluded them in the regular classroom. Almost all MAPS students have achieved high school graduation, and some are now moving on to successful careers in film and television.

The work MAPS students create is high-quality, and MAPS students have won regional EMMY awards. But that is not what is most remarkable about MAPS students. When you meet a MAPS student, you will notice that they shake your hand, look you in the eye, and make conversation with you. At MAPS, they are learning the life and business skills that will help them to success beyond high school.

MAPS Media Institute has achieved the goal of helping underserved youth reach beyond their perceived limitations through rigorous instruction in the arts and caring adult mentorship, and the Montana Arts Council would celebrate their selection as a winner of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. We can’t think of another organization more worthy of this honor.


Arlynn Fishbaugh, Executive Director

Montana Arts Council, PO Box 202201, Helena, MT 59620-2201 afishbaugh@mt.go