Clark Receives $800,000 Challenge Grant from Kresge Foundation for New Stone Hill Center

For Immediate Release

August 11, 2006

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute announced today that it has received an $800,000 challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation for the new Stone Hill Center. The Clark has raised over $10 million towards a $15 million project goal. The Kresge grant is contingent on the Clark raising an additional $3.8 million in private donations by October 1, 2007.

The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan awards its prestigious and highly competitive grants on a challenge basis to assist in completing ambitious capital campaigns. One important goal of the Kresge challenge grant is to help institutions broaden their traditional base of support by encouraging them to reach out to a more diverse donor base.

“This challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation is an important stamp of approval from one of the most prestigious foundations in the country,” said Clark director Michael Conforti. “This endorsement of the Clark’s project and fundraising success to date is a powerful symbol to other donors and will go very far in helping us reach our ambitious goal. When combined with the recent grant success of other regional cultural institutions, this grant is a real validation of the importance of the cultural economy of the Berkshires. The region as a whole will benefit greatly from this confluence of good news signifying the support and growth of the arts in the region.”

The new Stone Hill Center designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando’s is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008. The estimated cost of the building is $25 million. Clad in wood, the 32,000 square-foot facility will house new, intimately scaled galleries, a meeting and studio art classroom, a terrace, an outdoor café, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC). Located on the wooded hillside along Old Stone Hill Road, the building will reinforce the Clark’s unique standing as the only major art museum in the world located in a dramatic rural setting. The new galleries will present exhibitions of 20th-century and non-Western art, expanding the reach of the Clark’s current exhibition programs.

The new building is the first step in the Clark’s overall campus expansion announced in 2003. The expansion project will provide much-needed space for the Institute’s special exhibitions, and research and academic programs, and will enhance the way visitors experience both art and the beautiful surroundings.

“This building will allow our visitors to connect with the extraordinary beauty of the Berkshires in a new way,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “The intimately scaled woodland galleries, and views afforded by the overlook terrace and the overall integration of the site with existing trails will enhance the experience visitors and community residents have exploring art in nature at the Clark.”

About the Stone Hill Center
The building has been designed to take advantage of the natural slope of the site and the dramatic views to the north, east, and west. While the building will be a two-story structure, only one level is visible above ground from the main entry to the south. The building is open to the landscape on all sides and a large terrace provides spectacular panoramic views of the Green Mountains and Taconic Range. Large expanses of glass capture the much-needed northern light for the conservators and also allow for visitors to view into the studio spaces.

The building represents a new direction for Ando in his choice of exterior materials. Clad primarily in wood and glass it is his first wood-clad building outside of Japan. Architectural concrete will be used to form the retaining walls and “7-Wall” - a main feature of the design that forms the terrace and courtyard - but rather than the highly polished architectural concrete that Ando is known for, he has chosen a more expressive, board form concrete for the Stone Hill Center. Formed with southern yellow pine, the texture of the wood comes through the concrete to create a surface that it is more reflective of the building’s woodland setting.

Working closely with Tadao Ando on the campus enhancement are landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts. The facility will be located approximately 1,000 feet to the south of the Clark’s 1973 red granite building and 100 feet from the Buxton School property line, near Old Stone Hill Road. The level area, about one third of the way up the hill, was a farm field as recently as the 1950s. The meadow and crest of Stone Hill, a well-known feature of the Clark’s campus, will remain untouched, and the Clark will maintain and add to the walking and hiking trails on the site.

A country drive will connect the Stone Hill building to the main campus. In addition, visitors can walk to the building along a scenic trail, which will be integrated to the system of already well-used trails on the hill. Visitors and local residents who hike, ski, and snowshoe on Stone Hill may also use the new lot to park. The terrace will be open year-round and will also be used as an outdoor café in the summer and for occasional special events.

Featuring small, chapel-like galleries, the space will host intimate exhibitions of works of art from the Clark’s collections or loaned works from periods and origins not normally seen at the Clark, from 20th-century paintings and photography to Asian art. Space surrounding the building will be ideal for outdoor sculpture installations. A flexible meeting room/studio art classroom will allow the Clark to offer hands-on art classes and other educational programs for which there are no facilities in the current building.

The estimated cost of the project is $25 million with a public opening anticipated in summer 2008.

Building Expansion and Campus Enhancement
In 2003, the Clark unveiled designs for a building expansion and campus enhancement designed by Ando with Reed Hilderbrand. The Clark’s new buildings will be Ando’s first museum project set within a rural American landscape. The project encompasses the Stone Hill Center, which is the first phase of the project, as well as an Exhibition, Visitor and Conference Center, which will house enhanced special exhibition galleries and provide much-needed additional space for conferences and symposia.

Enhanced visitor amenities such as a new shop and restaurant in the Exhibition, Visitor and Conference Center, will support the Clark’s role as a public art museum. The project also encompasses the renovation of the original white building that houses the permanent collection and will include new gallery space for American art and decorative arts. The 1973, red-granite building that currently serves as the main visitor entrance, will also be renovated to provide more space for the Clark’s Library and special collection of works on paper. A dramatic reflecting pool will connect all of the buildings on the main campus and reorient them towards the beauty of Stone Hill.

The Williamstown Art Conservation Center
The Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), a nonprofit organization located on the campus of the Clark, treats objects ranging from historic artifacts, antiques, and heirlooms to some of the most important paintings, watercolors, drawings, photographs, sculpture, and furniture in the country. Founded in 1977 to address the conservation and preservation needs of a small consortium of collecting institutions in the Northeast, the Center now serves more than 55 member museums and historical societies, as well as many individuals and corporations.

The Clark
Set amidst 140 bucolic acres in the picturesque Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums in the United States that also serves as a leading international center for research and higher education. In addition to its extraordinary collections, the Clark organizes groundbreaking special exhibitions that advance new scholarship and enhances the public understanding of art. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world.

The Clark offers a range of public education and community programs that actively engage people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to providing free gallery and classroom programs to schools, the Clark fully funds transportation costs for any school group that can travel to Williamstown by bus in one day. The Clark presents regular family festivals and programs, engaging children and adults alike in the arts through educational activities and hands-on experiences. Frequent gallery talks enhance the experience of the collections and special exhibitions. The Clark also presents films as well as chamber, folk, and world music concerts. Upcoming exhibitions at the Clark include Claude Lorrain – The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum (Spring 2007) and The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings (Summer 2007)

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