The mission of the Myrna Loy Center is to present the arts, including media, performing, literary and visual, in an educational context, with challenging and culturally enriching programs that would not otherwise appear in the Helena area or in Montana.
With a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Advancement grant, that resulted in the opening of the Myrna Loy Center, located in the historic Lewis and Clark County Jail in downtown Helena. The building was built in 1891 in the Richardsonian style and was the second county jail. Built by Nicholas M. McDonnell, the old jail was made of brick and Porphyritic Granodiorite.
The Center took its name from Montana's First Lady of Film, Myrna Williams, born on August 2, 1905, in Radersburg, Montana, 40 miles southeast of Helena. Her father, David Williams, served in the Montana state legislature. He was the youngest person ever elected to the Montana State legislature. At age seven, Myrna moved with her father, mother and brother to Helena, where they lived on 5th Avenue, a few blocks from the Lewis and Clark County jail.