For Immediate Release
July 26, 2022 


Sobel is the first woman to lead the Clark’s Board

(Williamstown, Massachusetts)—Denise Littlefield Sobel was recently selected to serve as the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Clark Art Institute, effective July 1, 2022. Sobel is the first woman to lead the Clark’s Board of Trustees. 

Sobel is a philanthropist with a longstanding interest in the visual and performing arts and has served on the Clark’s Board of Trustees since 2014. She has been a member of several Board committees for the Clark and, most recently, served as vice chair from 2021–22. Sobel has also taken a leadership role in supporting a number of exhibitions at the Clark, including Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern (currently on view); Ground/work; Renoir: The Body, The Senses; Jennifer Steinkamp: Blind Eye; Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900; Helen Frankenthaler: As in Nature; Monet | Kelly and VanGogh and Nature. 

“It is a tremendous honor for me to assume the leadership of the Clark’s Board of Trustees,” said Sobel. “As we embark on a new strategic plan, the Clark is working to deepen our involvement within our immediate community and extend our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; enrich our ongoing scholarly connections; and expand the significance and impact of our exhibition program. We have ambitious plans, and I am honored and delighted to have been entrusted with stewarding the progress of these exciting initiatives.” 

In addition to her involvement with the Clark, Sobel is an active supporter of a number of cultural venues across the nation, supporting exhibitions and programming at several museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Barnes Museum, Philadelphia; SFMoMA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Williams College Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Frick Madison, New York; the Morgan Library Garden, New York; Bennington Museum, Vermont; and the Jewish Museum, New York.  

A passionate advocate for dance, she is also an active supporter of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the School of the American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Glimmerglass Festival. She has also served as the Vice Chair of the American Friends of Les Étés de la Danse, a Paris-based summer dance festival. 

In 2019, the French government presented Sobel with the country’s highest civilian honor, naming her a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to French culture.  

A native of San Francisco and a resident of New York City, Sobel is active in a number of charities in both cities and has served on many other nonprofit boards, including the American Red Cross of Greater New York, which recently honored her with the 2022 Humanitarian Award; Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York; and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, where she has been honored for her ongoing support of dance programs and historic preservation.  

In 2013 Sobel created the Tikkun Olam Foundation, Inc., where she serves as president, focusing on women's health, gender justice, and reproductive rights issues. In addition, she is at the forefront of a number of other initiatives to promote diversity within the arts and serves on several diversity committees for various nonprofits. 

Sobel earned a BA from Williams College in 1975 and was one of the first women to graduate from the formerly all-men’s college. Her commitment to her alma mater and passion for architecture led to Sobel’s support for many renovation projects at Williams, including the Chapin Concert Hall, the Jewish Religious Center, the Spencer Studio Art Building, and the costume shop at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance.  

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 285,000 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. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Advance timed tickets are recommended. Admission is $20. Admission is also free on a year-round basis for Clark members, all visitors age twenty-one and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; and EBT Card to Culture. For more information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303. 

Use of facemasks is optional for all visitors. For details on health and safety protocols, visit

Press contact: [email protected]