Archie Bray celebrates 65 with “’50s Flashback”

Helena ceramic arts center turns 65 with auction and Brickyard Bash

Art Beat
"Grouper" by Jason Walker
“Grouper” by Jason WalkerPhoto © Jason Walker

The Archie Bray Foundation celebrates a major milestone at 6 p.m. July 23 during its 65th anniversary celebration.

Head back to the beginning with a 1950s theme: the rock ’n’ roll of Elvis Presley and Little Richard, TV shows like “I Love Lucy” and “Leave it to Beaver,” hot rods and drive-ins. Wear your poodle skirt and blue suede shoes, drive your muscle car, and get ready to kick off the next 65 years of ceramic excellence at the internationally known ceramic arts foundation.

Now in its 20th year, the annual Bray Benefit Auction at 7:30 p.m. includes work by more than 120 artists who have contributed to the Live, Silent and Cup Auctions. The Live Auction artwork is on display in the North Gallery through the Brickyard Bash, while bidding on the Cup and Silent Auction items begins July 16 in the Warehouse Gallery and closes July 23. All auction artwork may be viewed online, and proxy-bidding instructions are available at

The Brickyard Bash follows the live auction with retro music by The Big Sky Mudflaps and special guests from Salsa Loca; appetizers and beverages are available. Tickets are $20-$25.

The bash began in 1984 to celebrate the purchase of the Bray family brickyard and to thank the community for their support. Under the direction of Kurt Weiser, the acquisition of 25 acres allowed for new studios, improvements to the clay business facilities and, according to Weiser, opportunities for the residents to “stretch out and do things they never did before.”

All auction proceeds benefit the Bray’s international resident-artist program, which supports artists by offering rent-free studios, subsidized material and firing costs, as well as direct funding through fellowships and stipends.

Call 443-3502 or visit for details.