Rick Newby, Helena, Montana–based poet, critic, and independent scholar, writes regularly about modern and contemporary ceramics. Newby co-wrote (with Chere Jiusto) the essay, “‘A Beautiful Spirit’: Origins of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts.” which appeared in the exhibition catalog, A Ceramic Continuum: Fifty Years of the Archie Bray Influence (Holter Museum of Art/University of Washington, 2001).
Newby has published essays – in catalogs and journals – on numerous contemporary Montana ceramic artists, including Rudy Autio, Richard Swanson, Beth Lo, Richard Notkin, Rebecca Hutchinson, Stephen Braun, Robert Harrison, and Adrian Arleo. His articles and reviews have appeared in American Craft, American Ceramics, Ceramics: Art & Perception, Ceramics TECHNICAL, Ceramics Review (UK), and Kerameiki Techni (Greece). He has contributed to publications issued by the Missoula Art Museum; Holter Museum of Art; Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago; Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, AZ; Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA; and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.
In 2012, Newby’s monographic essay, “Wrested from the Earth: The Life and Art of Stephen De Staebler,” appeared in Matter + Spirit: Stephen De Staebler (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/University of California Press), on the occasion of the major retrospective, Stephen De Staebler: Sculpture, at the De Young Museum.
Newby also writes about and edits books on other aspects of art and culture. His essay, “Missionaries for Modernism: George and Elinor Poindexter and Montana’s Poindexter Collections of Postwar American Painting,” appeared in The Most Difficult Journey: The Poindexter Collections of American Modernist Painting (Yellowstone Art Museum, 2002), the catalog accompanying a national touring exhibition drawn from the Poindexter Collections at the Montana Historical Society and the Yellowstone Art Museum.
He served as editor of The Rocky Mountain Region volume in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures (Greenwood Press, 2004), to which he contributed the essay on the region’s visual arts and artists, and in 2010, he edited the monograph, In Poetic Silence: The Floral Paintings of Joseph Henry Sharp (Settlers West Gallery) by Thomas Minckler.
As editor, Newby’s works on Montana literature include Writing Montana: Literature Under the Big Sky (with Suzanne Hunger, 1996); An Ornery Bunch: Tales and Anecdotes Collected by the W.P.A. Montana Writers’ Project (with Megan Hiller, Elaine Peterson, & Alexandra Swaney, 1999), and The New Montana Story: An Anthology (2003).
Most recently, Newby edited “The Whole Country was . . . ‘One Robe'”: The Little Shell Tribe’s America, by Nicholas C. P. Vrooman (Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana & Drumlummon Institute, 2012).
A past member of the Montana Arts Council and the Board of Directors of the MontanaCenter for the Book, Newby received the Montana Governor’s Award for the Humanities in 2009. He is currently executive director of Drumlummon Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering research, writing, and publishing on the arts and culture of Montana and the broader West.