Inland Northwest Ceramics and the Archie Bray Connection

How are the ceramic arts and the Archie Bray Foundation tied to Inland Northwest Art?

The Safeco Collection acquisition provided a unique opportunity to greatly expand representation of the ceramic arts, better matching the level of artistic activity and private collecting interest in that field regionally.

After World War I, ceramics curricula were established at Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon universities. Colleges and universities in the Spokane region continue active ceramics programs and local collectors like Jim Kolva and Pat Sullivan are building serious private ceramic art collections.

Safeco cultivated a connection through corporate giving with the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana during the 1980s, adding ceramics as a collecting focus to paintings and prints. Many Inland Northwest ceramic artists have professional ties to the Archie Bray Foundation, which is today among the leading institutions for ceramic arts in America.

Archie Bray Foundation, “for all who are seriously and sincerely interested in any of the branches of the ceramic arts, a fine place to work.”                    

—Archie Bray, Sr. 1951

Set against the wooded foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the 26-acre former brickyard, transformed into an art center by its owner Archie Bray in the early 1950s, is internationally recognized as a gathering place for emerging and established ceramic artists.