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Zen and the Art of Family Day at the Clark July 27

For Immediate Release

July 10, 2008

Sumo wrestlers and the Maine Thunder Spirits Taiko Ensemble and Kung Fu Review will be part of the action packed family fun on Sunday, July 27, from 11 am to 4 pm, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. This free family day with a Japanese flair is inspired by the opening of Stone Hill Center at the Clark. Admission to the galleries is free on this day. Activities are also free.

Two of Hawaii’s premier athletes, Bumbo Kalima (6’4”, 390 lbs) and Ace Yonamine (6’1”, 435 lbs), both former professional sumo wrestlers in Japan, will demonstrate the basic concepts of Japan’s National sport of Sumo wrestling, at 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm. Observers will learn, through live demonstration and explanation, about the history, training, rules, and the variety of winning techniques in this nearly 2,000 year old sport. Each session will conclude with several sumo matches between these two sumotori. Young audience members may be selected to face off with the wrestlers. After each of the three demos, the wrestlers will pose for photos, answer questions, and sign autographs.

The Maine Thunder Spirits Taiko Ensemble and Kung Fu Review will bring their spectacular show to the steps of the Clark’s marble building at 12 pm and 2 pm. The Thunder Spirits perform a breathtaking combination of traditional Chinese (Lion and Dragon dance and Kung Fu) and Japanese (Taiko drumming) arts.

Award-winning storyteller Motoko Dworkin will captivate audiences at 12:30 and 3 pm. A native of Osaka, Japan, Motoko first came to the United States as an exchange student to the University of Massachusetts. She has appeared on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and won a Parents’ Choice Award for storytelling in 2002.

Catch Japanese anime short films for children at 11:30 am and 2 pm in the Clark’s air-conditioned auditorium. Daylong events include Ikebana (the art of flower arranging) and bonsai demonstrations, music played on a koto (Japanese stringed instrument), and haiku workshops. Get creative and decorate decoupage boxes with origami paper, take part in an origami workshop, paint bamboo mats, and fashion koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks). The Mystic Paper Beasts puppets will roam the Clark’s grounds throughout the day.

Bring a picnic or purchase food from Spice Root (Indian buffet), the Clark (hamburgers, hotdogs, cold sandwiches, salads, and sushi), Boston Seafood (New England-meets-Japan seafood boats), Hot Tomatoes (pizza), and Lickety Split (ice cream). 

A visit to the Clark is a rewarding family experience year-round, with 140 acres of scenic meadows and trails providing ample opportunities to run and play, hike, and spot the many birds inhabiting the area. In addition to the new walking paths leading to Stone Hill Center, two trails explore the far reaches of the Clark’s 140-acre campus. The Pasture Loop and longer Stone Bench Loop both have wonderful views of Williamstown and the surrounding mountains. The Clark’s grounds are open to the public free of charge. Free admission to the galleries is always offered to children 18 and under and to students with valid ID. 

Stone Hill Center, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando, opened to the public in June 2008. Stone Hill Center houses two intimately scaled gallery spaces and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC). Designed to blend gracefully into the hillside, Stone Hill Center is integrated into the surrounding 140-acre campus through a network of scenic trails and walking paths. The two-story, wood-and-glass building provides generous vistas of the countryside, with a terrace and outdoor café. The building’s design not only provides an abundance of natural light for the conservators, but also allows visitors on the terrace or in the courtyard the chance to see them at work in their studios.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays September through June). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, 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 www.clarkart.edu.

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