Springtime in Paris Free Family Day April 19 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

April 01, 2009

Enjoy the fun and frivolity of nineteenth-century Paris during a free family day at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, April 19, from 12 to 4 pm. Throughout the afternoon, you can make your own chapeau, have your photo taken in Parisian costumes with the streets of Paris as your backdrop, listen to an award-winning author read from her book, be mesmerized by acrobats and jugglers, and learn how to dance the Cancan. Admission and activities are free.

Clowns, acrobats, jugglers, and a contortionist in costumes inspired by 1800s France will amaze audiences at 1:30 and 3 pm with 45-minute performances transporting you to circuses at the time of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The performers, from Nimble Arts, a circus production company from nearby Brattleboro, Vermont, have backgrounds that include Circus Smirkus, Ringling Bros, and Cirque du Soleil.

Children’s book author Emily Arnold McCully will read from her Caldecott medal-winning book Mirette on the High Wire at 12:30 pm. McCully’s beautiful illustrations carry the reader over the rooftops of nineteenth-century Paris, and into a beautiful world of acrobats, jugglers, mimes, actors, and one resourceful little girl. McCully will sign copies of her book from 1 to 2 pm.

Can you Cancan? Yes, you can! Dance instructor Isabelle Holmes will teach the basics of this lively, high-kicking French dance. Sign up for one of two age-appropriate lesson sessions.

Step into elegant Parisian costumes and pose for a photo with the streets of Paris as your backdrop (costumes provided). Need a top hat? Decorate your own chapeau with ribbon and feathers.

Get into the act with a “one ring circus” art project. Start with a round base and use colorful materials and inspiration from Toulouse-Lautrec’s images to create a circus scene of your imagination (all materials provided).

Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris exhibition curator Sarah Lees will be in the galleries from 1 to 3 to answer questions as you explore nineteenth-century Paris from dance halls to circuses.

This Family Day is supported by funding from the officers and employees of Allen & Company, Inc.

A visit to the Clark is a rewarding family experience year-round with 140 acres of scenic meadows and trails providing ample opportunities for families to hike, run and play, or spot the many birds inhabiting the area. 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 students with valid ID.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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