MAPS Free In-person Media Arts Classes Make Summer Much Cooler

Who is MAPS?

MAPS, originally named Media Arts in the Public Schools, started in 2004 as an after-school and summer media arts program in the Bitterroot Valley. This Montana nonprofit is a National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs awardee, an award which has allowed them to expand to several communities across Montana. 

What is a MAPSter? While a MAPSter can be defined as a MAPS student who has taken any of their free-of-charge media art classes, the true definition of a MAPSter is more undefinable. 

“Summer is a time to create,” said MAPS student teaching assistant Quin Vulk. “There are kids who might spend their summer sweating it out in their houses playing video games and watching movies. MAPSters are like those kids, except instead of playing video games or watching movies, they want to create them and make them their own.” 

Recently nominated for a Northwest Chapter National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Emmy award for her short stop motion film “Behind the Scenes” — a film she created at MAPS, Vulk knows firsthand that MAPSters see the world through a different lens.

“When I started taking MAPS classes, it was sort of sparked by curiosity,” she said. “I knew I liked to create, but hadn’t really tried telling a story through filmmaking or design before. After becoming a MAPSter, I learned that things like film, design, and music help kids express themselves. This is the coolest part.”

Cove Jasmin, a respected Montana musician and MAPS Music Instructor, agrees.

“The professional equipment and studio time MAPS provides is often the first experience students have had to access these types of creative tools, and you can see the difference in their projects,” Jasmin said.

In response to the question “What is a MAPSter?” Jasmin said, “Step through our doors to find out. The only thing you need to bring with you is yourself – MAPS provides everything else.”

His question for future MAPSters is “What will you create?”

MAPS — Ravalli County summer classes kick off on June 21 with an array of topics:

  • MUSIC: Recording Studio Sessions with Cove Jasmin, June 21- 25;
  • FILM: Lights, Camera, Action: Create a Film from Story to Screen with Dru Carr, June 28 – July 2;
  • DESIGN: Create Your Own Reality with Janna Williams, July 12 – 16;
  • TECH: Adobe After Effects Awesomeness with John Springer, July 19 – 23;
  • INTRO to MAPS: with Caitlin Coss Shay and guest artists, July 19 – 23.

MAPS classes are completely free of charge for 8th to 12th-grade students of all abilities. Each summer class runs 1–4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the MAPS Studio located at 515 Madison St. in Hamilton. 

Read this article on Ravalli Republic