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Study Shows Clark's Leadership in Spurring Economic Growth in the Berkshires

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2012

Williamstown, MA— A recent study details the central role the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute plays in attracting visitors to the Berkshires and examines the Institute’s economic impact on the region.

The Clark is one of Berkshire County’s leading tourist attractions, regularly attracting upwards of 200,000 visitors per year to its Williamstown campus to visit the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions. In addition, its Research and Academic Program draws visiting scholars, museum professionals, students, and researchers from around the world to the Clark’s  Williamstown campus to engage in scholarly research and a year-round program of conferences, colloquia, and symposia.

The study, conducted by the Boston-based Economic Development Research Group, Inc. (EDR), was commissioned by the Clark to assess its economic impact on the region. The report considers the Clark’s ongoing activities and anticipates further growth spurred by increased programming following the 2014 opening of new facilities currently under construction on its campus.

 “We are heavily invested in the future of Berkshire County and are committed to the continued success of the region’s cultural tourism economy,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “For nearly 60 years, the Clark has been one of the Berkshires’ most popular tourist destinations. We are optimistic that our expanded and revitalized campus and growth in programming, coupled with our increased global reach, will draw new visitors and enhance visitor engagement with one of the region’s unique cultural attractions.”

The Clark is in the final phase of a ten-year campus expansion program that includes: construction of a new Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center; renovation of its original museum building and the Manton Research Center; and creation of a dramatic new landscape that highlights the scenic 140-acre campus. The EDR study indicates that the Clark’s current construction activities are having a positive impact on the local economy by creating new construction jobs and increasing tax revenues to state and local government.

During the three-year span of the project (2011-2014), EDR estimates that the Clark project will:

  • create a total of 523 new construction-related jobs:
    • 327 new jobs will go to Massachusetts-based workers, representing total labor income of $20.7 million
    • 196 additional construction-related jobs are being created in the metro Albany region, with labor income of $12.9 million
  • increase local and Massachusetts state tax revenues by:
    • $992,000 per year during the construction phase (local and Massachusetts)
    • $529,000 per year (local and Massachusetts), post-construction

 “We are confident that the visitor experience we are creating on our campus will further distinguish the Berkshires as a unique destination where great natural beauty is enhanced by exceptional cultural offerings,” Conforti said. “We are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to introduce new visitors to the Berkshires and to extend the reach of our museum and academic programs. As new and long-time visitors come to the Berkshires over the coming decade, they will find a renewed Clark eager to welcome them.”

The EDR study anticipates increased visitation to the Berkshires spurred by the Clark’s expanded offerings and improved campus and forecasts new job creation in tourism-related industries, including retail, lodging, and hospitality. The study estimates sustained job growth in Berkshire County of approximately 80 new positions tied to cultural tourism.

 “The power of arts organizations to drive economic growth is clearly demonstrated by these findings,” Conforti said. “Working together with our partners in other arts and civic organizations, we are committed to fostering the continued growth of the region’s creative economy.”

For more information on the economic impact of the Clark’s expansion program, visit clarkart.edu/impact.

Campus Expansion Program Summary

The Clark’s campus expansion program includes construction of its new Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando; renovation of the existing Museum Building (built in 1955) and the Manton Research Center (built in 1973); and creation of an environmentally sensitive landscape plan that more effectively manages water consumption on the site and adds a new reflecting pool and walking trails to the 140-acre campus. The first phase of the project, the construction of Stone Hill Center, was completed in 2008. Construction of a new underground physical plant facility was completed in late 2011 and became fully operational in spring 2012. Completion of the last phase of the construction project is planned for July 2014.

About the Clark

The Clark is one of the few major art museums that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. The Clark presents public and education programs and organizes groundbreaking exhibitions that advance new scholarship, and its research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and conferences. Its 140-acre campus in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts includes Stone Hill Center, designed by Tadao Ando and opened in 2008, which houses galleries, meeting and classroom facilities, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. The Clark, together with Williams College, America’s foremost liberal arts college, sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history. 

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily in July and August (open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June), 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free November through May. Admission is $15 from June 1 through October 31. Admission is always free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413 458 2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

About EDR

Economic Development Research Group, Inc. is a consulting firm focusing specifically on applying state-of-the-art tools and techniques for evaluating economic development performance, impacts, and opportunities. The firm was started in 1996 by a core group of economists and planners who are specialists in models and tools for evaluating impacts of infrastructure, technology workforce, and natural resources on economic development opportunities. Glen Weisbrod, president of EDR Group, is a former board member of the Council for Urban Economic Development, now IEDC. EDR Group provides both consulting advisory services and full-scale research projects for public and private agencies throughout North America as well as in Europe, Asia, and Africa. 


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