Responding to Art Involves Self Expression (RAISE) is a five-session program designed in collaboration with the Berkshire County Juvenile Court System and hosted by the Clark. RAISE students participate in a combination of looking at, thinking about, and talking about art, as well as writing and drawing activities. Each session promotes reaching specific goals and objectives, and the program culminates in a graduation ceremony that celebrates the participants’ achievements in the program. The final week begins with each participant leading a half-hour gallery talk for their parents or guardians, school personnel, and court officials.

Goals for Participants Include:

  • Expanding the students’ sense of human experience and possibility, including a more constructive perspective of how they fit into the larger world
  • Learning to look at, think about, and talk about art in a meaningful way
  • Realizing that every student’s view matters
  • Considering an art museum as a place where the students belong
  • Becoming more aware of individual competencies

Since its inception in 2006, RAISE has served more than 200 adolescents aged 12–17 from Berkshire County. Following their RAISE program experiences, students report that they find the museum a peaceful and comforting place, and many express the desire to go back because they feel a sense of personal ownership. Participants feel accepted and cared about without being judged, and their experiences are as priceless as the works in the Clark's collection. The recidivism rate for RAISE program graduates is very low, illustrating the power of art to change lives.

Head Start with Art at The Clark

Head Start students participate in a program of repeat visits to the Clark designed to support the development of language, literacy, and kindergarten readiness skills. Students learn about museums and art through guided discussions and gallery explorations led by members of the Clark’s Education Department.
The Head Start with Art at the Clark program was developed in direct response to the impact of federal budget cuts to Head Start funding. The Clark recognized the role it could play in restoring culturally and socially enriching experiences in which Head Start children may not otherwise have the opportunity to take part, while also empowering them to share the benefits and enjoyment of museum visits with their families.

Meet Me at The Clark Program

People with dementia and their caregivers engage with museum staff in conversation about art on select Mondays when the museum is closed to the public. This special access creates a peaceful, reflective environment for enjoying art. 

The primary goal of the program is to encourage self-expression, meaningful interactions, and a positive social experience for people with dementia, the people who love them, and the professionals involved with their care.

Special Initiatives

Our Mission

The Clark’s mission is to advance and extend the public understanding of art, making this a very special place for adults, children, educators, and scholars. The goal of all of our programs is to help people realize that engaging with art can enhance their lives.

Curating a Culture of Respect / Des Maux – Des Musées – Des Mots

Curating a Culture of Respect / Des Maux – Des Musées – Des Mots is a FRAME Education initiative that began as a pilot project  between the Museums of Strasbourg, France and the Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. and partner schools with the goals of building healthy human relationships, raising awareness about violence, and helping to prevent it.

Building on the innovative FRAME project model of “Talking Art," in which adjudicated youth spend time engaging with art to increase their sense of self and gain new confidence, this project aims to utilize art as a vehicle to expand awareness about human relationships, about perspectives and choices, and about violence and compassion. In other words, this project connects young people and schools with art museums as a place to explore and contemplate contemporary social issues and problems—in this case violence, from bullying to terrorism—and helps them consider their power in shaping their own worlds and the future.
In addition to engaging with art at museums, teachers are reshaping some of their classroom activities to connect with museum experiences and the related analytical thinking about the human condition. The operational strategy for the project is “synergistic co-creation," in which each of the partners shares responsibility for initiating activities and contributing to the evolution and potential impact of the project, as well as chooses levels of participation.