The Montana Performing Arts Consortium (MPAC) incorporated in November, 1982. It achieved its 501(c)3 status the following year. During its first 25 years, MPAC arranged over three hundred tours of performing arts events and saved presenters over $1,000,000 in reduced fees and travel costs for block-booked events. These savings not only increased the number of events presenters were able to offer but also inspired audience growth.
MPAC continues to assist the development of rural and emerging presenters through the Presenter Development program designed specifically for their needs. Since 1987, with funds from the Montana Cultural Trust and Montana Arts Council, MPAC has supplied over $295,000 in fee support to emerging and established rural presenters. This assistance helped them in developing performing arts series, upgrading existing programs, and developing artist residency programs in their communities.
The Consortium orchestrated the state's blockbuster tour of the Denver Center Theatre Company's production of the play "Quilters." Due to the organizational and fundraising efforts of MPAC, an unprecedented thirteen communities were able to participate. Since that time, MPAC has block-booked such performers as B.B. King, Turtle Island String Quartet, John Houseman's The Acting Company, California E.A.R. Unit, the Kronos Quartet, Phillip Glass, Wynton Marsalis, Merce Cunningham, and dozens more.
Since the first live Showcase in 1983, at least six different artists who participated went on to receive either a nomination for or win a Grammy Award.