"Berkshire Backyards" Painting Contest at the Clark

For Immediate Release

February 04, 2005

The American artist George Inness was inspired by the Berkshires in his landscape paintings, seen at the Clark this winter in A Walk in the Country: Inness and the Berkshires. In celebration of the exhibition, the Clark invites amateur artists of all ages to paint their own vision of the Berkshires for the painting contest "Berkshire Backyards." Entry forms and illustration boards will be available at the Clark beginning February 6. Deadline for entry is March 6. All entries will be displayed at the Clark from March 18 through April 10. Prizes in youth (ages 12 and under), teen (ages 13-18), and adult categories will be awarded for the pictures that best represent the spirit of the Berkshires.

Judges for "Berkshire Backyards" are Lesley Ann Beck, Berkshires Week editor at the Berkshire Eagle; David R. Bissaillon, president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; Representative Daniel E. Bosley of the 1st Berkshire District; Reginia Burgio, graphic designer at the Berkshire Visitors Bureau; Maria Mingalone, head of education at the Berkshire Museum; and Seth Rogovoy, editor-in-chief of Berkshire Living magazine.

"The beautiful landscapes of our region by George Inness are sure to inspire amateur artists of all ages," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "We encourage everyone, regardless of their artistic ability, to give this painting contest a try and participate in the museum in a hands-on, lighthearted way."

All entries must be unframed on 11 x 14 inch canvas illustration boards. These boards will be available at the Clark for $1 (free to members) from February 6 to March 5. The illustration boards are also available at most art supply stores. The picture can be in any media-oil paints, acrylic, watercolors, pastel, collage etc.-provided it does not exceed the dimensions of the canvas board.

Finished pictures should be dropped off at the Clark between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, or between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, March 4, Saturday, March 5, or Sunday, March 6.

Prizewinners will be announced at an opening reception for the "Berkshire Backyards" display on March 18. First prize in all three categories is a one-year family membership to the Clark, a $50 gift certificate to the Clark's museum shop, and lunch for four in the Clark's café. Second prize in the Youth category is a $160 gift certificate to be applied to one class with Northern Berkshire Creative Arts. Third prize in the Youth category is a $25 gift certificate to Buster's Entertainment Center in Pittsfield. Second prize in the teen category is a $100 gift certificate towards one class at IS183. Third prize in the teen category is a $25 gift certificate to Miller Supply Co., Inc., in Pittsfield. Second prize in the adult category is a $100 gift certificate to Jiminy Peak. Third prize for adults is four tickets to the Zydeco Dance Party at MASS MoCA, April 15.

The Clark will also host a "Berkshire Backyards" family day on Sunday, April 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.

A complete list of rules is available at the Clark information desk or by calling 413-458-0563.

 A Walk in the Country is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on George Inness's relationship with the Berkshires, a center of cultural and intellectual life since the 19th century. Inness, one of the most prominent American landscape artists of the 1800s, took the Berkshires as a frequent subject and enjoyed the patronage of famous "Berkshire cottage" owners such as Catharine Sedgwick, Ogden Haggerty, and Henry Ward Beecher. Drawing inspiration from the landscape, Inness idealized his Berkshire scenes to create a sense of timeless and spiritual meaning.

Media for A Walk in the Country is sponsored by Berkshire Bank.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5p.m. Gallery admission is free through May.

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