The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Awarded $54,100 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council

For Immediate Release

November 27, 2006

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has announced a $54,100 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. It is the largest operating support grant in western Massachusetts, and one of the top 15 of 400 such grants awarded throughout the Commonwealth. The grant completes a three-year funding cycle totaling $138,250 in support of the Clark’s educational programs. Grants are awarded to organizations with track records of excellence and community service.

The MCC grant supports the Clark’s variety of educational programs including its school bus subsidy program that underwrites the cost of bus travel for schools within a one-day drive. This program enables students to participate in customized gallery talks and other quality arts education programs at little or no cost. The Clark also offers free educational programs throughout the year including lectures about art and artists, focused gallery talks, family activity days, and film screenings.

The Clark is considered a leader in arts education and each year sponsors a docent “summer school” bringing museum docents from throughout the United States to the Clark for a week of training. This highly-regarded program provides participants with an opportunity to analyze works of art and explore innovative ways of presenting them to diverse audiences. Participants are trained to think about organizing information, engaging visitors, and linking varied works of art together into a coherent sequence.

“The Massachusetts Cultural Council provides critical operating support not only for the Clark, but for many Berkshire-based institutions that contribute to the cultural economy of the region,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “The Clark is pleased to receive an increase in MCC funding this year that will allow us to continue to offer the highest quality educational programs.”

“The MCC's increased support of the Clark is an important statement about the council’s commitment to funding arts and culture in the Berkshires,” stated Representative Daniel Bosley. “It is an investment in the arts education of Berkshire County students, and in the quality of life of Berkshire County residents.”

MCC has a budget of $13 million, including $12 million from the state of Massachusetts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Foundation, and other sources. Its funds reach every community in Massachusetts. The mission of the MCC is to promote excellence, education, access and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of the communities. The not-for-profit cultural industry has a $4.2 billion economic impact in the state.

The Clark
Set amidst 140 bucolic acres in the picturesque Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums in the United States that also serves as a leading international center for research and higher education. In addition to its extraordinary collections, the Clark organizes groundbreaking special exhibitions that advance new scholarship and presents an array of public and educational programs. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia. The Clark, together with Williams College, sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. Its Fellows and Conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world.

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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