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Clay Studio of Missoula celebrates 20 years

Flames shoot from around a ceramic cup made by Chris Drobnock, a resident artist at the Clay Studio of Missoula, after it was pulled from the anagama kiln during a recent firing. The Clay Studio, founded by a group of artists looking to share the industrial resources ceramic arts require, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.

A cheat sheet to some of the arts and cultural events happening around Missoula in the next week.


The Radius Gallery is opening a new show, "I would like to be the air," with four divergent artists: illustrator Courtney Blazon; ceramic sculptor Randi O'Brien; ceramist/painter Mel Griffin; and potter Deborah Schwartzkopf. The opening reception is Friday from 5-7 p.m. Schwartzkopf will give a gallery talk, "10 Questions," on Friday, June 29, at 6 p.m. and a full-day workshop at the Clay Studio of Missoula on Saturday. Head to and,respectively, for more information.


The Clay Studio of Missoula is turning 20 this year. The nonprofit ceramics center has provided a hub for community members to share studio space and take classes while bringing resident artists from around the country to hone their skills. On Saturday, many of those artists will gather at the studio for an anniversary party, complete with music by ceramicist Beth Lo's band, Western Union, and food trucks. Inside, you can check out the gallery, where they're showing work from people who've helped the studio over the years. The party, meanwhile, runs from 3-7 p.m. at 1106 Hawthorne St.

Mountaineers can see a free documentary on Saturday at Bob Ward's, which is having a block party for its 101st anniversary. "Mountain," directed by Jennifer Peedom, covers a wide swath of mountain sports, including "mountaineers, ice climbers, free soloists, snowboaders, wingsuiters and parachuting mountain bikers," according to a press release from Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. Narration comes from Willem Dafoe. The free screening will start at sundown. The block party starts at 5 p.m. at Ward's, located behind Southgate Mall. There's beer and wine from Rhino catering and food trucks. It's free.


A new documentary, "If I Leave Here Tomorrow," takes viewers through the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The film isn't in wide release yet, but you can see it for free at the Top Hat as part of the Big Sky Film Series. Director Stephen Kijak's documentary revisits the Southern rock act, from its formation and the story behind the name, its time opening for the Who and getting in musical spat with Neil Young, through to the 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of frontman Ronnie Van Zandt and guitarist Steve Gaines, among others. The screening is free. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Ages 21 and up only.


A new documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" looks at the life of Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers, a pioneer in children's television and all-around model for human empathy.

To celebrate the occasion, local actor Jeff Medley is bringing back his stage tribute to Mister Rogers.

Medley, with help from keyboardist Josh Farmer and drummer Roger Moquin, will perform Rogers' album "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" from front to back. Medley and company have performed the show several times over the years, with a set created by local printmaker Jack Metcalf.

Show times are 5:30 and 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for Roxy members or $7 for the general public.


If you want to practice still-life drawing with a model who will never tire of a pose, Desmond Divine is here for you.

The mannequin and his frightfully cheerful expression were a longtime fixture of the window display at Desmond's, a Higgins Avenue clothing store that announced its closure.

It was then purchased by Betty's Divine boutique, who's loaned it to the Zootown Arts Community Center for its Drink and Draw Night at Western Cider, where you can imbibe a fruit-based alcohol beverage while you sketch.

The drawing session runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the cidery, located at 501 N. California St. The ZACC will provide drawing materials. A portion of the proceeds go toward the ZACC.

The Missoula City Band will run through selections from its 150-year history to coincide with "Stories in Time," director Gary Gillett's new book about the municipal ensemble. Head to Bonner Park at 8 p.m. for the free show.


The Opera House Theatre in Philipsburg is kicking off its season on the 21st with its annual Vaudeville Variety Show, a popular feature written by the cast and crew. The show plays at 7 p.m. in the historic theater, a sight worth seeing unto itself.

The theater company is unique for the area since it uses the "rolling repertory" model — performing three shows throughout its season. On Friday, June 22, they open "Psych!", which they describe as a murder-mystery-comedy written by Lisa Rowe, who will attend the opening. The following Thursday, the 28th, they'll open "Having Hope at Home," a multi-generational comedy centered on the head of gynecology at a local hospital whose daughter is having her baby at home.

Those openings also occur at 7 p.m. For a complete schedule of the opera house's season or ticket information, go to or call 406-859-0013.

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