Welcome to our community profile blog!
In this new section of our
newsletters we will feature local community members, artists, or events that we feel bring greatness to our community.
We hope to spotlight events and people that we can all relate to and bring all of us closer together as a community.

Here in Missoula our community members take great pride in our city and in our local neighborhoods. Our town is broken into quite a few residential neighborhoods and with this edition of our blog we are going to bring you into the world of our Franklin to the Fort neighborhood and their wonderfully involved community members.

During Covid, a group of neighbors got together to come up with a call to action for their neighborhood, and called it The Franklin to the Fort Neighbors in Action Committee (F2FNAC). They recognized a need to stay connected to their neighborhood and began this group to help reach out to their neighbors and come up with ways to stay connected in a time when we all felt so isolated. The goal of the F2FNAC is to create a safe environment for families and children, to make the neighborhood a place where you know your neighbors, to support each other, look out for one another and connect with people.
The Storywalk
The Backstory of the Greta and Carlos "Village" Stories

One of the projects the F2FNAC came up with, was to create a story walk for their community. Not only would this provide a family fun event for people in and around the Franklin to the Fort neighborhood, but it was also a way to get people to meet one another in a safe and covid friendly way. They created the Art & Storytelling to Build Human 
Connections 

The group imagined a COVID-safe event for mid-winter that was active and fun to bring neighbors 
outside together to walk, to meet, to build connections. 
This idea inspired artist Kate Wilburn to pitch 
in and write and illustrate the story "What Makes a Village?"  
 
The first episode of this series, "What Makes a Village?" made its debut in Franklin to the Fort this January. 

11 year olds Greta & Carlos star in this tale-- for all ages-- of neighbors reaching out to neighbors. The story proposes that "buddies" and "village" could be our greatest security.

For about a week, the sequence of 12 story segments occupied telephone poles and the like along 5 routes through the neighborhood. Each about 3/4 of a mile long, the routes roughly covered the entire geography. Four of them converged at Franklin Park. 

On Saturday January 16, a core group was at the park all afternoon to meet neighbors, to ask what their hopes are for this neighborhood in which we live, what their hopes are for working together to make those real.  

It was a cold day not much above freezing, but it was sunny. About 45 adults and children came. People seemed delighted to have an engaging way to be out on foot, to meet each other. And they also seemed delighted to be asked to speak of and to write down their hopes for being like a "village" with each other. 

Their hopes included: connection and compassion, knowing neighbors to help them and to ask for help, community-held garden space, seed exchange and collaboration with the abundance of nature, safer walking conditions and more sidewalks, traffic calming, more neighborhood activities and art, a family-friendly center -- maybe a corner market-- as a welcoming place to be with neighbors.

Carol "Kate" Wilburn, artist and author of the Franklin to the Fort neighborhood story walk lives a few blocks from Franklin School. She cherishes the wild Land, is keenly aware of legacy across generations. She’s lived an amazing life terrain as engineer, homesteader, single parent, artist, permaculture designer, teacher. Also a naturalist, she celebrates nuanced Life and its intense beauty. Her art & poetry offer vivid contrasts in words, strong shapes, light, dark. 

Passionate over current challenges, she illustrates & writes children's stories that imagine new possibilities for us.

Two more Greta and Carlos stories are coming - the next will debut on June 5th with a similar "progressive story walk-and-roll"!  Also fully illustrated, "What Grows a Village" weaves a springtime theme of humans-in-community with keystone native plants, jeweled insects, & each other. 

All of us at Frame of Mind were so inspired by the hard work of the F2FNAC and artist Kate Wilburn, that we wanted to help. We were able to help the group out with 
matting the new paintings for the upcoming art walk. 
We are so grateful to have a community so willing to keep us all together during these difficult times, and we were 
honored to help keep the costs of this project affordable for everyone involved.  

Kate's paintings offer a sneak preview of the next story in the series!
Hunt's Bumblebee
Asters with Goldenrod
Milbert's Tortoishell Butterfly
Look for the third story later this summer.
Synergistic with other community-building projects in the neighborhood, the intention is to bring out neighbors to meet each other, to build cohesiveness & relationships.

After the June 5th event, F2F Neighbors in Action expects to share those story sets with other Missoula neighborhoods (East Missoula & NS/ WS) for similar purposes & events. Finally, the laminated story sets will join "What Makes a Village?" in the library at Franklin Elementary as an ongoing teaching resource there. 
1706 Brooks Street
Missoula, MT 59801
406-549-8589