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About Explore

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2021


The Clark is one of seventy-nine museums in America to receive funding from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation to advance goal of carbon neutrality in visual arts organizations  

(Williamstown, Massachusetts)—The Clark Art Institute recently received a Frankenthaler Climate Initiative grant from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in the foundation’s inaugural cycle of providing funding to support visual arts organizations in efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. The Clark received $50,000 toward the redesign of the HVAC central plant for its Lunder Center at Stone Hill.  

Building on the Foundation’s social impact philanthropy, the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative is a multi-year grantmaking program designed to advance the goal of carbon neutrality in visual arts organizations. In its 2021 grantmaking cycle, the Foundation conferred its full initial commitment of more than $5 million to seventy-nine collecting institutions across more than twenty-five states. It has also dedicated an additional $5 million to be awarded over the next two years. 

“We are deeply honored to have been selected for a Climate Initiative grant from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation,” said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark. “Our responsibility as stewards of our lands extends to our deep commitment to environmental sustainability on our campus and this grant will allow us to ensure that the HVAC system in our Lunder Center is operating at peak efficiency and according to the most current standards. Advances in technology, even over the short lifespan of this building, have been significant and this grant means that we will have the opportunity to take advantage of state-of-the-art environmental controls to help to minimize our carbon footprint.” 

The first program of its kind supporting energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions for the visual arts in the US, the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative was developed in partnership with RMI, a leading global expert and advocate for clean energy, and Environment & Culture Partners consultancy, and was launched in February 2021.

“The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative was conceived to move art museums toward net zero, and to set an example for all institutions and citizens to follow suit,” said Fred Iseman, President of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “We wanted to help US art institutions join the climate fray. There is a void to be filled: a crying need to provide technical know-how and financial support to art institutions to scope their needs, define problems, and implement solutions. We made a wide swath of grants in the hope that private benefactors and public policy would continue to support these and other art institutions in their climate goals.” 

“RMI, one of the world’s key thought, policy, and technology leaders in global carbon reduction, has agreed to work alongside us to provide our FCI grantees with its massive environmental engineering expertise for one reason: the importance of art as an instrument of enlightenment and public leadership,” Iseman added. “We are grateful to them and to Environment & Culture Partners and delighted by the breadth and depth of the seventy-nine institutions who successfully applied for grants to-date. The enormous response caused us to double down on our commitment.” 

“As we enter this decisive decade in the fight against climate change, every sector of the US economy is called to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of RMI. “Charitable institutions will require significant support for these technical and capital projects, but the good news is that so much of energy efficiency is cost-effective, providing financial benefits while reducing emissions. Every efficiency and clean generation project funded through the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative will be a form of endowment investment for the museum recipient and for the planet.” 


Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational, and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, advancing educational programs in partnership with arts organizations around the world, and launching groundbreaking initiatives that foster systemic change in the field. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.


The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative is the first nationwide program to support energy efficiency and clean energy use for the visual arts and the largest private national grant-making program to address climate change action through cultural institutions. Its grants provide critical support to visual art museums in the United States seeking to assess their impact on the environment and to lower ongoing energy costs, which are among the highest fixed costs faced by museums. The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative builds on the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s commitment to social impact philanthropy, catalyzing change across critical issues in the arts. The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative was launched and is managed in association with RMI, an independent nonprofit that engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs in accelerating the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future, and Environment & Culture Partners, a nonprofit that creates relationships and leads collaborations that engage the cultural sector in broader climate action. For more information and a full list of 2021 grantees, visit


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, consisting of more than 275,000 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, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open daily in July and August, and open Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, 10 am to 5 pm. Advance timed tickets are required. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students of any age with a valid student ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; and Blue Star Museums. For more information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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