CLARK ART INSTITUTE HONORS INTERIM DIRECTOR FRANCIS OAKLEY

Dedication will take place during opening celebration for Manton Research Center

For Immediate Release
November 1, 2016

Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute will recognize the exceptional service of Francis Oakley, who served as its interim director from September 2015–August 2016, by naming the bridge between its Manton Research Center and Museum Building in his honor.
 
“The bridge marks a symbolic connection between the Clark’s art spaces and its research center, and is a particularly apt metaphor for the important role Frank Oakley has played in the life of the Clark,” said Robert Scott, vice chairman of the Clark’s Board of Trustees. “His service in bridging the Clark’s leadership during the recent directorial transition was tremendously important in ensuring continuity and momentum. During his more than thirty years as a member of our Board of Trustees, Frank has been a strong advocate for both our museum and academic programs and played an essential role in forging important links between the Clark and Williams College. He has been a central participant in many of the key decisions that have benefited both our collections and our scholarly programs, and he continues to guide and inspire his fellow Trustees as we plan for the future.”
 
Members of the Clark’s Board of Trustees donated $1 million to recognize his many contributions by naming the enclosed walkway the Francis Oakley Bridge. A dedication ceremony will take place in this space on November 12 as part of the celebration of the reopening of the Manton Research Center.
 
“The Museum Building is the home of our permanent collection and the Manton Research Center is the heart of our Research and Academic Program, housing our exceptional art research library; office and research space for scholars from around the world; and classrooms and offices for the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art,” said Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark. “The Francis Oakley Bridge unites these two spaces and will serve as a reminder of all that Frank has done to support our dual mission as both a public art museum and as a center for research and higher education in the visual arts. I know that Frank was a wonderful advisor to my predecessor, Michael Conforti, and has already proven to be an invaluable colleague to me. I look forward to benefiting from his wisdom and leadership in the years ahead.”
 
Oakley was a member of the Williams College faculty from 1961–2002 and served as its president from 1985–1994. He is currently a senior fellow at the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social
Sciences at Williams and is the college’s Edward Dorr Griffin Professor emeritus of the History of Ideas. Oakley is a member of the Clark’s Board of Trustees and served as Board president from 1998–2005, a period in which he oversaw the growth and expansion of the Clark’s nascent Research and Academic Program. He remains vitally involved in this work, currently co-chairing the trustee committee that oversees this program.
 
Oakley is a distinguished scholar and leader, with a long history of involvement in the Williamstown community. He is the author of sixteen books and coeditor of three others. His trilogy The Emergence of Western Political Thought in the Latin Middle Ages received the Medieval Academy of America’s Haskins Medal in 2016, honoring distinguished books in the field of medieval studies. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Oxford, master of arts degrees from Oxford and Yale, and a PhD from Yale. Oakley is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America and is an honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  
 
Oakley played leadership roles in a number of arts and cultural organizations in the region, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Nationally, he has served as chairman of the
boards of the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, and of the American Council of Learned Societies, New York. Oakley and his wife Claire-Ann live in South Williamstown.
 
ABOUT THE CLARK
 
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 270,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
 
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
 
Press contact:
pr@clarkart.edu
413 458 0588