Huge Audiences and Critical Acclaim Fuel Banner Season for Clark
For Immediate Release
October 12, 2010
Summer Exhibitions Boost Berkshires Economy by $15 to $20 Million
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—Significant critical acclaim and widespread audience interest in its two exhibitions, Picasso Looks at Degas and Juan Muñoz, propelled attendance at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to near-record numbers this summer. The Clark recorded total visitation of approximately 120,000 from its June 13 public openings through the close of the Labor Day weekend, making 2010 the second-highest attendance season in the Clark’s history.
“While the success of our season was very good news for us, it translates into great news for the Berkshires,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “We estimate that our summer exhibition program drove a contribution of at least $15-20 million to the local service economy.”
More than 100,000 of the Clark’s summer audience came from outside of Berkshire County, with nearly two-thirds representing overnight visitors to the Berkshires. Visitors from the New York and Boston metropolitan areas accounted for approximately 35 percent of the museum’s overall summer attendance. The Clark recorded an increase in visitors of more than 10 percent over 2009, placing the 2010 season as one of its best-attended, second only to the Clark’s 2001 exhibition on Impressionism. The museum expects to welcome more than 220,000 visitors by year’s end.
“It was great to see so many people enjoying the Clark this summer,” Conforti said. “Our free Family Day in June had more than 5,000 people, our July band concerts drew more than 1,000 people each week, and we had a full season of public programs, including films, lectures, and workshops that drew crowds week after week.”
The success of the summer exhibition program also helped to push the Clark’s membership program to new highs, with more than 800 individuals and families joining or renewing as Friends of the Clark.
Picasso Looks at Degas, organized by the Clark in cooperation with the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, was hailed as “the most revelatory exhibition on American soil this summer,” by the Boston Globe and as “a double-barreled delight by the Wall Street Journal. The exhibition will open at the Museu Picasso on October 14, with record attendance numbers anticipated in Picasso’s homeland.
“Our curators spent more than five years researching and preparing this exhibition,” Conforti said. “The overwhelming response it received reflected widespread appreciation for both the great works that were included and the new scholarship that was advanced. It was a delight to bring the work of these two masters to Williamstown and it’s very exciting to contemplate the Spanish public’s reception for Picasso Looks at Degas.”
The Clark’s campus was particularly busy this summer as the museum began construction on an infrastructure project to upgrade utilities and art-handling facilities. “We paid special attention to ensuring that every aspect of our visitor's experience on the campus was memorable,” Conforti said. “We added a spirited summer crew as well as extra transportation services including a shuttle bus and golf carts to make certain that things ran smoothly and we were rewarded with glowing comments from visitors who appreciated the extra effort.”
Juan Muñoz, the first exhibition contemporary art of at the Clark in more than 15 years, featured the works of the noted Spanish sculptor in installations at the museum’s Stone Hill Center and in its permanent collection galleries. The exhibition’s closing day on October 17 will be celebrated with a free Family Day event offering a wide variety of activities and entertainment.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is $15 June 1 through October 31. Admission is free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.