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"Clark Arctic" Family Day Offers Outdoor and Indoor Fun March 10

For Immediate Release

March 01, 2002

Inuit stories and games, ice sculpture, and a giant snow fort are all part of a fun-filled afternoon at the Clark Art Institute on Sunday, March 10, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. The "Clark Arctic" Family Day celebrates the current exhibition Arctic Diary: Paintings and Photographs by William Bradford. All indoor and outdoor events and activities are free; some events are weather permitting. 

At 2:00 p.m., Inuit storyteller Michael Arvaarluk Kusagak will tell tales of his Arctic home in the Arctic Circle. Kusagak, who lives in the Nunavut Territory, tells stories with string in a tradition passed on to him by his grandmother. He creates whales, dogs, and sea gulls as he spins his tales. Kusagak has written number children's books including My Arctic and Who Wants Rocks? Following his storytelling in the auditorium, Kusagak will head outdoors to teach "orienteering" and lead children in Inuit games.

At 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., ice sculptor Mark Silverman of Lake Hopacong, NJ, will demonstrate his craft on a 4x2x1 foot block of ice. In two sessions, Silverman will also guide eight groups of children in creating their own ice sculptures. Space for this activity may be limited and participation will be on a first come, first served basis.

Educators from Sea World will give an Arctic animal demonstration in the auditorium at 3:00 p.m. Children and adults will learn about seals, walrus, and polar bears and their survival in the Arctic (The program does not include live animals).

Michael Cassin, curator of education, will give gallery talks of the Arctic Diary exhibition at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The exhibition of images of images of icebergs, glaciers, and sea adventure by artist and Arctic explorer Williams Bradford will appeal to all ages. The talk is appropriate for children ages 4 and up. 

If weather conditions permit snowmaking--through the generosity of Jiminy Peak, the Mountain Resort in Hancock-children will be able to help make a giant snow fort. If Mother Nature also provides snow on Stone Hill, snowshoes and snow tubes will be available for use throughout the afternoon.

From 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours of Killington, VT will offer dog sledding demonstrations. Children will learn how to "mush" and drive the team. This activity will take place on snow or on grass, depending on the conditions.

Scrimshaw artist Robert Weiss will demonstrate his craft throughout the afternoon. Weiss, one of the foremost scrimshanders working today, has won the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award at the Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition three times. 

Hands on activities for kids include scrimshaw on plastic "ivory" and Arctic animal mobiles.

At 4:00 p.m., the film version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen will be shown in the auditorium.

Free hot chocolate will be served. The Clark Café will also have a variety of other snacks and refreshments available for purchase.

Arctic Diary features the work of American artist William Bradford (1823-1892). Bradford, an important Luminist painter, made nine trips to the Arctic Circle, which inspired his paintings of icebergs, glaciers, ships, and frigid seascapes. In 1869 he documented his journey with 141 albumen photographs published in the travelogue The Arctic Regions: Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland. In 1999, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute acquired the rare album as part of its ongoing initiative to build a collection of important early photography. The album has been disbound for necessary conservation treatment, providing a unique opportunity to display the individual photographs for a wide audience. The exhibition, on view February 17-May 5, 2002, features fifty photographs from the album, as well as oil paintings by Bradford and a group of pencil, charcoal, and oil sketches. Arctic Diary also includes the canvas The Panther in Melville Bay, commissioned by Queen Victoria and currently in the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The painting will be exhibited publicly for the first time.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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