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The Clark Dedicates "Scott Opler Reading Room" in Recognition of $750K Gift

For Immediate Release

May 08, 2004

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute last night dedicated the Scott Opler Reading Room in honor of the late Scott Opler. At the dedication ceremony, attended by Clark trustees, staff, Williams College staff, and Opler's friends and family, Clark director Michael Conforti announced a $750,000 gift from the Scott Opler Foundation.

"Over the past decade, grants from the Opler foundation have enabled our library to build an advanced research-level collection in the field of photography. Their generosity has now culminated in this important gift. We are proud to name the reading room after Scott Opler and honor his memory," said Conforti.

Opler graduated from the Williams College/Clark Art Institute Graduate Program in the History of Art in 1987. He died in 1993 while pursuing his Ph.D in Italian Renaissance architectural history at Harvard University. He established the Scott Opler Foundation shortly before his death. The Foundation continues his personal charitable interests and activites by making grants and gifts in his memory, focusing on three areas: the scholarly study and preservation of art and architecture; the conservation of nature and the preservation of wildlife habitats; and the support and provision of AIDS-related services and education. Since 1996, the Foundation has given the Clark library grants totaling $118,000, in addition to the gift announced yesterday. The earlier funds went towards the purchase of books, primarily relating to the study of photography.

The Scott Opler Reading Room is located near the reference desks inside the Clark library. It contains open shelves of current art journals and related periodicals, from ARTNews to the German WeltKunst surrounding a comfortable seating area with large windows overlooking the Clark's South Lawn and the woods beyond. The Clark's library is one of the nation's premier resources for the study of European and American art.  Along with 200,000 printed volumes, the library's holdings also include many rare illustrated books, bound periodicals, auction sales catalogues, a large study collection of photographs and reproductions of works of art, and 135,000 slides. The resources of the library support the Clark's Research and Academic Program, including 18-20 Clark Fellows each year, and the Graduate Program, one of the leading programs of its kind in the United States. The library is used by scholars, Williams College faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and the general public. The library is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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