The Clark to Open for 50 Hours June 3 to 5

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2005

The Clark will celebrate 50 years of art in nature by staying open for 50 straight hours, from 6 p.m. on Friday, June 3, through 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. The galleries will remain open around the clock free of charge, and an array of public programs for kids and adults with a range of interests will take place throughout the Clark's buildings and its grounds. Most programs and activities are free.

The festivities will begin with a champagne toast at 6 p.m. on Friday. The permanent collection galleries will be open, and continuous activities will include ten-minute gallery talks on the Clark's "50 Favorites," every hour on the half hour. Prizes will be awarded to visitors who attend the most "50 Favorites" talks. Prizes will include 2 nights at the elegant Boston Harbor Hotel including parking, and tickets to the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Throughout the 50 Hours guests may follow the Clark Treasure Trail to find 50 landmarks inside and out and register to win a ride in the hot air balloon on late Sunday afternoon.

On Friday at 8 p.m., the 50th Celebration Gala, under tents on the front lawn, will feature cocktails, a buffet dinner, and dancing to the music of the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Dress is black tie optional. Tickets are $200 per person ($150 for members). The gala ticket also includes admission to the after-hours party, "From the Empire to the Edge," from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The later party includes a preview of the exhibition Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile and dancing to a d.j. in the "New Epoch" party tent on the south lawn. Tickets for the after-hours party may be purchased separately for $35 ($25 for members). To order tickets, call 413-458-0524.

Jacques-Louis David will open to the public at midnight and remain open, free of charge, throughout the 50 Hours weekend. A gallery talk, "Open Your Eyes for David," will take place at midnight.

From 1 to 7 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, a free late-night film festival will showcase films that take place in museums, including The Thomas Crown Affair and How to Steal a Million. A detailed film schedule is online at www.clarkart.edu.

At 7 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday mornings, a sunrise continental breakfast will be available on Stone Hill, overlooking Williamstown.  A bagged breakfast of delicious pastries, fruit, juices and coffee will be available ($8 for adults, $4 for children). Jacqueline Heisel of Frog Lotus Yoga will then lead an outdoor yoga class at 8 a.m. The natural beauty of Stone Hill is also the focus of a guided nature hike, "50 Things to Know on Stone Hill," at 10 a.m. Saturday. Hank Art of Williams College will lead the hike.

Family fun is the theme of Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an outdoor festival of art and activities that celebrates our collection for children. At 5 p.m., John Bryan of the Mountain Goat will test guests' orienteering skills at a family hike. An outdoor barbeque will be offered from 5:30 to 9 p.m. On the menu are hamburgers, chicken, and hot dogs plus a choice of salads and side dishes (dinners are $11 for adults, $6 for children; a la carte items available). At 7 p.m., the bluegrass group Northern Lights will perform a free concert on the South Lawn. Campsites will be available for families wishing to pitch a tent for the night on Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m. Space for camping is limited; for more information or reservations, call 413-458-0661.

Fireworks will fill the sky over Stone Hill at 9 p.m. Saturday. The display, designed by Berkshire Fireworks, will be visible from all over the Clark's grounds. Following the fireworks, people will gather around the campfire to listen to ghost stories. If the stories keep the kids awake, they can head to the galleries for a pajama gallery talk at 11 p.m.

Because of the anticipated crowds for Saturday night festivities, free parking will be available at Mount Greylock Regional High School. A complimentary shuttle bus will transport guests from 5:30 to 11 p.m.

Those with more grown-up interests will enjoy jazz in the galleries from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Paul Arslanian, piano, Charlie Tokarz, saxophone, and Joe Fonda, bass, will perform. Nejaimes Wine Sellers will present a complimentary French wine and cheese tasting at 1 p.m. Saturday (proper ID required). At 2 p.m. Saturday, visitors will learn about the world-wide impact of the Clark's Research and Academic Program with a discussion with past and present Clark Fellows.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Clark Director Michael Conforti will give a public talk about the history of the Clark and the Clark family.

More outdoor activities will take place on Sunday morning, with a birding hike led by Leslie Reed-Evans of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation at 6 a.m. At 9 a.m. a 5K Fun Run will start at the lily pond and loop around Sabin Drive, South Street, Ide Road, Gale Road, and back to the Clark. Kids under 12 will run a one-mile loop. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers in 50 and over, 49 and under, and 12 and under categories. Race registration will begin at 8 a.m. (registration forms available on-line).

Kids films (The Muppets Take Manhattan and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) will be screened at 7 and 8:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. At 11 a.m. Sunday, popular children's book author Eric Carle, perhaps best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, will read a story and speak in an interview with Mindy Hackner, children's librarian of the David and Joyce Milne Library, followed by a booksigning.

Also from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, a chess game with life-size pieces will take place on the front lawn along with a brunch featuring a bagel bar and Bloody Marys ($9). Players wishing to take on the resident champ may call 413-458-0661 in advance.

From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., stroll the galleries to chamber music performed by Robert Phelps, classical guitar, and Glaine Saloio, flute.

At 2 p.m. Phillipe Bordes, guest curator of the Jacques-Louis David exhibition, will give an introductory lecture to the show. Following his talk, Bordes will sign copies of the catalogue, available for purchase in the Clark museum shop.

From 4 to 6 p.m., a community anniversary party will include birthday cake, lemonade, and music by the Steve Murray Group. During the party, we will draw the winners of the Treasure Trail contest and they will take to the skies in short hot air balloon rides above the Clark campus.

Finally, a 6:30 p.m. concert by the Berkshire Music School String Ensemble will bring the 50 Hours to a close at 8 p.m. Sunday

A variety of food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the 50 Hours. Visitors are welcome to bring picnics and snacks to enjoy while at the Clark (food and beverages not allowed in the galleries).

A complete schedule of activities is available online at www.clarkart.edu.  The Clark galleries, library, and offices will be closed on Monday, June 6, so the staff may recover.
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