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$6.5 million gift endows programming and names pavilion in recognition of retiring director

For immediate release
August 26, 2015

Williamstown, Massachusetts—A leadership group of trustees, benefactors, staff, and close associates has made a $6.5 million gift to the Clark Art Institute to honor Michael Conforti’s vision and leadership during his twenty-year tenure as its director. Conforti announced his retirement earlier this year and will step down at the end of this month.

In recognition of Conforti’s many contributions to the growth of the Institute, the Clark’s Board of Trustees will rename the West Pavilion in the new Clark Center as the Michael Conforti Pavilion. The gift provides capital and operating support for the pavilion and also creates an endowment to fund future academic and public programs held in the space.

“This is a fitting tribute to Michael; it ensures continued growth of the rich and vibrant programming that he spearheaded at the Clark,” said Andreas Halvorsen, chair, and Robert G. Scott, vice-chair of the Institute’s Board of Trustees. “Michael fashioned this multi-purpose space to create an environment in which all types of programs are possible. It’s wonderful that future generations can benefit from his expansive vision while enjoying the diverse events that will be hosted in the Michael Conforti Pavilion.”

Support for the initiative reflects deep appreciation for Conforti’s long service to the Clark and the community. The funds for the endowment were raised through a private initiative that included participation by each member of the Clark’s Board of Trustees and senior management team; a number of honorary and former trustees; key supporters of the Clark; and the team of architects and designers involved in the recent campus expansion program.

The Michael Conforti Pavilion (formerly known as the West Pavilion) is a 3,200-square-foot glass and steel multi-use space. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, the pavilion is located on the upper level of the Clark Center and overlooks the Clark’s one-acre reflecting pool. Since its opening in 2014, the pavilion has served as a special exhibition gallery (Cast for Eternity: Ancient Ritual Bronzes from the Shanghai Museum, summer 2014), conference center, performance venue, lecture hall, screening room, event space, and casual dining facility (Francine’s, summer 2015).


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, open to the public 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; open September through June, Tuesday through Sunday, 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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