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Clark Art Institute Receives Grant to Extend Educational Project into Pittsfield Schools

For Immediate Release

May 09, 2003

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has received a grant from Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America in support of its education outreach program. The grant will allow the Clark to extend a pilot program begun earlier this year in the North Adams public schools into middle schools and high schools in Pittsfield.

"We are delighted that we are able to expand this new program into Pittsfield, thanks to the generous support of Berkshire Life," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "Through our educational outreach programs we introduce the museum to the visitors of the future as well as provide a valuable resource to the schools in our community."

The project fosters direct encounters with works of art in the Clark collection. Students in middle and high schools will participate in extended series of visits to the Clark throughout the school year, putting the art on view into the context of today's world. Clark curator of education Michael Cassin and Breta Yvars, assistant curator of education, work with teachers to develop cross-curricular content, including both classroom and museum components, in areas such as creative writing, history, literature, language, and science. The program also provides for student work being collected and perhaps eventually published on the Clark's website to serve as an educational resource in the future.

The first groups of the pilot program, English classes from Drury High School in North Adams, visited the Clark in October and March. The North Adams portion of the program is funded in part by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, and Stamford.

The education department of the Clark Art Institute annually serves more than 9000 students from schools throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York State. In addition to free admission and talks, many schools take advantage of the Clark's transportation subsidy program. The Institute will pay bus transportation costs for any school group that can travel to the Clark and back in one day. Educators interested in participating should contact the Education Department at 413-458-2303, extension 363. Sample video clips of different tours are available online at www.clarkart.edu/education/.

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