Van Gogh and Nature and Whistler’s Mother exhibitions drive increased tourism and spending in the Berkshires

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2015

Williamstown, Massachusetts—Extraordinary public interest in its two summer exhibitions, Van Gogh and Nature and Whistler’s Mother: Grey, Black, and White resulted in record-breaking attendance for the Clark Art Institute this summer. Attendance during the ninety-day run of the Van Gogh and Nature exhibition reached 170,000 visitors, making it the best-attended special exhibition in the Clark’s history.

The Clark estimates that the exhibition created an additional economic impact in Berkshire County of approximately $14.8 million over that of a typical summer season. This figure does not include retail or food service sales on the Clark’s own campus, both of which marked similarly significant increases over previous years.

“This has been an exceptional summer for the Clark and for the Berkshires,” said Frank Oakley, interim director of the Institute. “We thank our neighbors, the town of Williamstown, our own staff, and the Berkshires business community for providing the support and assistance needed to serve such a large audience. It’s wonderful to know that so many of our local businesses benefited from the great interest shown in the Clark’s programs.”

Attendance for Van Gogh and Nature, which featured forty-nine works by the Dutch painter, surpassed the exhibition, Impression: Painting Quickly in France which drew some 130,000 visitors in 2001. Of those who attended the Van Gogh exhibition, 80,000 visitors received complimentary admission through membership, free family events, library pass programs, guest passes, or through the Clark’s year-round policy of providing free admission for all students and children.


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 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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