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Clark Art Institute Receives $64,000 Grant from Massachusetts Cultural Council

For Immediate Release

March 03, 2000

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has received a matching grant of approximately $64,000 over two years from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency.

The grant is for organizational support and will be used to enhance the Clark's exhibitions, education, and research programs. The first half of the grant is in the amount of $32,030, and is expected to be matched in the second year of the grant, once the state's budget is finalized. "We are thrilled the Clark's high quality programs, community service, and administrative ability have been recognized by this very competitive grant process and by the peer review panel representing the state of Massachusetts," says director Michael Conforti. "We are delighted to have the Massachusetts Cultural Council's support for our many programs, including public education, research and scholarly activities, and exhibitions and collections." The MCC has a budget of $18.3 million for fiscal year 2000. The mission of the MCC is to promote excellence, education, access, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

The not-for-profit cultural industry has a $2.56 billion economic impact in the state. The Clark impacts the economy of Northern Berkshire by bringing in between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors annually. In addition to its role in cultural tourism the Institute reached out to residents of the region through public programs offered throughout the calendar year. Art-related public educational events, many of which are offered free of charge, include lectures, symposia, and gallery talks, while other programs such as classical and folk music concerts, film series, and popular family and children's events all enhance the cultural life of the area year-round.

The Clark's education department also reaches out into area schools-not just in Western Massachusetts but in Southern Vermont and New York State as well-by providing free docent tours to school groups, in-school slide presentations, and other materials to help teachers enhance their curriculum. In order to ensure that all school systems may take advantage of the Clark's unique educational offerings, the Institute provides funds to pay the entire transportation costs for any school within a one-day drive of Williamstown. The Clark recently expanded its educational mission further with "Kidspace at MASS MoCA," a collaboration of the Clark, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art, which will provide contemporary art experiences for students in the North Adams Public School system and beyond.

The Clark Art Institute The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of only three institutions in the United States (along with the Getty Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington) that combines a public art museum with a separate research and academic program, supported by a major art history library. As such, the Institute functions as an international center for research and discussion on art as well as its history, criticism, and the institutions that shape and support the field.

The Clark was chartered in 1950 by Robert Sterling Clark and opened its doors in 1955, welcoming the public to a collection of artworks and books that he and his wife had assembled over the course of five decades. The collection is best known for an extraordinary collection of French Impressionist paintings, which take their place within a wider ensemble of masterworks that range from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century. Among the highlights are works by Ugolino di Nerio, Piero della Francesca, Fragonard, Corot, Bouguereau, Turner, and an especially strong representation of American artists, including Homer, Cassatt, and Sargent. The Clark is also noted for its fine holdings of decorative arts and old master and nineteenth-century drawings and prints. Its library has grown to become one of the nation's premier resources for the study of European and American art, containing more than 200,000 printed books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues.

The Clark Fellows Program brings leading scholars from universities and museums around the world to Williamstown for up to a year to research and develop ideas focused on art and related critical and historical issues. Its conference and symposia program presents one major Clark conference a year on an issue of importance to the field, as well as symposia, colloquia, seminars, and lectures on a variety of topics. In addition, the Clark houses the Getty Trust's Bibliography of the History of Art and a master's program in the history of art, the country's foremost program of its kind, which is administered jointly with nearby Williams College.

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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