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Sam Miltich

The Improvised Life: Exploring the Intersections of Mental Health & Creativity through Jazz


On Saturday, June 15 the Edge welcomes Sam Miltich and Friends as they present The Improvised Life: Exploring Intersections of Mental Health & Creativity through Jazz, a program highlighting cultural contributions of famous artists with mental illness and inspiring hope through Sam’s own story and original compositions. Sam’s dialogue explores intersections of mental health and the creative process and his pursuit of well-being amidst the daily challenges of living with a serious mental illness. He will describe his definition of recovery and the sense of purpose he cultivates through quality engagement in career and family life.

Backed by a world-class band consisting of Dave Karr (tenor sax), Chris Bates (bass), and Nathan Norman (drums), the tour expands exposure to jazz in rural communities and increases awareness of the issues faced by a vulnerable population.


The added focus on mental health awareness and education is delivered through a narrative delivered by Sam and woven throughout the concert and provides context to the music being heard and highlights the intersections of creativity, mental illness, improvisation, and cultural contributions in both Sam’s and other legendary musicians’ life and music.

This project aims to increase recognition in the general public of the social and cultural contributions of people with mental illness and inspire hope for recovery while expanding exposure to and knowledge of jazz music for people living with mental illness.

This event partners with a new Edge of the Wilderness community initiative designed to increase awareness of and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness with the launch of a Make It OK campaign (


Thanks to the Bigfork Lions Club, Bigfork Valley Hospital, North Itasca Electric, Wilderness Health, and for helping to underwrite this performance.

$15 adults / $5 children. Available at the Timber Rose, online*, and at the door.

Adult tickets can be purchased for $10 on Saturday, June 8 only at the Make It OK! booth during Bigfork Wilderness Days. Cash or checks only, please!

*Online ticket sales now closed.


Operating support is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Earlier Event: May 30
Overstories / Kristen Anderson
Later Event: June 22
Dee and Jack