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UM News
December 16, 2013

MISSOULA – The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena provides an environment for ceramic artists to work and thrive. A recent economic study conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana found that accomplishing this mission also has a significant impact on the Montana economy through job creation and income generation.

The study’s author, BBER economist Patrick Barkey, found that in years in which special events occur at the Archie Bray Foundation, the operations of the organization ultimately support 38 year-round equivalent jobs, $2.1 million in income to Montana households and more than $4 million in sales recorded by Montana businesses.

According to the study, Archie Bray impacts the Montana economy in three quantifiable ways:

  • Business operations making ceramic art and distributing school supplies generate jobs, sales and payments to vendors and suppliers.
  • The educational facility hosts workshops and artist-in-residence programs that attract spending by out-of-state artists and students who take part in these activities.
  • Archie Bray draws out-of-area visitors attracted to the foundation’s reputation and cultural activities.

“The impact of the Bray as a destination for cultural tourists was a bit of a surprise,” Barkey said. “Cultural tourists tend to be older and more affluent and also tend to stay longer when they visit. We often think of the arts as something you do with money. But it’s important to recognize that the arts also bring money into the state economy.”

Set against the ruins of a 26-acre former brickyard three miles from downtown Helena, the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is internationally recognized as a gathering place for emerging and established ceramic artists. Founded in 1951 by brick maker Archie Bray, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and draws visitors from around the country and beyond who purchase artworks and art supplies and attend events and workshops hosted on site.

BBER is a research center producing economic and industry data for Montana. For more information visit http://www.bber.umt.edu/.

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Contact: Patrick Barkey, director, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research, 406-243-5113, pat.barkey@business.umt.edu.