Building offers new galleries, study center, and reading room

For Immediate Release
July 12, 2016
[Digital image available upon request]

Williamstown, MA—The Clark Art Institute’s newly renovated Manton Research Center will open to the public on November 12, 2016. The completion of the building’s renovation is the final part of the Clark’s multi-year campus expansion program. A significant reconfiguration of the building’s first floor provides new public spaces including a gallery and study center for works on paper; a public reading room; and a bookstore and coffee bar, while building-wide upgrades for accessibility and life safety have enhanced its library, auditorium, and administrative offices.   
The Manton Research Center is central to the Clark’s mission of advancing and extending the public understanding of art. Renovation of the building was designed by Selldorf Architects, New York. The center, built in 1973, is home to the Clark’s Research and Academic Program, the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, and the Clark library—one of the largest art history research libraries in the country.  
“We are eager to celebrate the opening of the Manton Research Center,” said Francis Oakley, interim director of the Clark. “These wonderful spaces will provide excellent facilities for visitors, students, and scholars to engage with our art and library collections in new ways.”
The Clark is planning a weekend of festivities on November 12 and 13 to celebrate the Manton Research Center’s opening, including a ribbon cutting ceremony; public lectures by Olivier Meslay, the Clark’s newly appointed director, and Annabelle Selldorf, design architect; and a concert performance in the auditorium. Details will be announced at a later date.
Project Elements
Manton Study Center for Works on Paper and Works on Paper Gallery
The Clark’s collection of more than 6,000 prints, drawings, and photographs spans the history of the graphic arts from the fifteenth century through the early twentieth century. Greatly enhanced from the previous study room with abundant natural light and double the space, the new study center provides state-of-the-art storage and broader access to the collection for researchers, scholars, students, and the general public. Visitors will be able to schedule appointments, or drop in during public hours, to request to see specific works of art.
A gallery dedicated to the exhibition of works on paper is adjacent to the study center. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Photography and Discovery, will be selected from the Clark’s growing collection of photographs and highlights more than forty works by American and European photographers.
Manton Gallery of British Art
This gallery, dedicated to displaying works from the Manton Collection of British Art, has been refurbished to enhance the experience of viewing art. The gallery will feature selections from the Manton collection, which includes more than three hundred paintings, drawings, and prints by Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, and others. It was donated to the Clark by the Manton Art Foundation in 2007 in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton.
Reading Room
A new architectural skylight system has transformed the former visitor services courtyard into a light-filled public reading room. Newly installed mezzanine library cases surround visitors with books and further underscore the building’s emphasis on research. Library tables and a variety of seating options designed by Selldorf provide patrons with an inviting space for reading and research. An adjacent coffee bar and bookstore offer new amenities for visitors. The bookstore will specialize in art publications and related merchandise.
The Clark’s auditorium has been fully renovated to provide a number of enhancements for accessibility, including accessible seating options on the first floor, a new entrance, and improved life safety and lighting systems. Careful attention was paid to ensure that the auditorium’s intimacy, site lines, and outstanding acoustics were preserved. The auditorium is utilized for a wide variety of programs including live music, lectures, films, academic symposia, and the popular broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera’s The Met: Live in HD, which will return to the Clark on November 19.
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.  
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open daily in July and August, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.
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