C’est Magnifique! The Clark Celebrates French Culture with Free Family Day on December 2

For Immediate Release

November 15, 2006

Embrace the French tradition of joie de vivre as the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute hosts a celebration of Franco-American friendships on Saturday, December 2, from 1 to 4 pm. From the kid-friendly gallery talk, to the building of mini-museums, to cooking demonstrations for adults, the Clark will offer a variety of French-inspired activities for all ages. Gallery admission and activities are free.

Families getting an early start will enjoy the film Madeline (88 minutes, 1998, rated PG) at 10:30 am and the Academy Award-winning short film The Red Balloon (34 minutes, 1956, unrated) at 12:15 pm in the auditorium. These films capture the sights and sounds of France following the two adventures of the spunky schoolgirl Madeline, and a boy and his beloved balloon.

Mime extraordinaire Robert Rivest will amaze all ages with his fascinating routines all afternoon. Rivest has presented over 4,000 performances in 11 countries in Europe, Africa, and across the United States. A student of Marcel Marceau, he trained for over 10 years with internationally renowned masters of mime, dance, theater, and improvisation.

Art-making activities include decorating papier mâché boxes, bookmarks, magnets, and pins. Children interested in the museum world can curate exhibitions of their own by choosing images of art and building mini galleries using craft materials.

Adults can discover the secrets used by French chefs during cooking demonstrations and tastings, held at 1:15, 2, 2:45, and 3:30 pm, with chefs from Williamstown’s Mezze Bistro and Bar. At each session chef James Tracey will demonstrate Mushroom Vol-au-Vent or chef Omar Montoya will demonstrate Frozen Coconut Souffle with Mango Coulis. Also at each session Mezze’s dining manager Halle Heyman will lead a discussion on how to coordinate wines with meals. Tickets for the demos and tastings are available at the welcome table on a first come, first serve basis.

The Deveaux Family Singers, a local family, will lead a sing along of French folk songs at 1:30 pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn classic children’s songs with a French twist.

At 2 pm, say “bonjour” to works by French artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and others, during a family gallery talk. All ages will enjoy this entertaining introduction to the French art in the Clark’s collection.

Author Polly Platt takes a light-hearted and humorous look at the difference between French and American culture at 3:30 pm. Platt is known as “the American who knows the French” and has entertained and educated audiences on French culture for over two decades.

This event celebrates the French Regional & American Exchange (FRAME), a collaborative group of 24 museums in France and the United States. Virtual visits to explore each of the FRAME museums will be possible through special computer stations in the courtyard.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 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 younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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