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Exploring power: moving the narrative

Exploring Power was a pilot program between the Clark and Buxton School, supported by FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange), designed to engage with art as a vehicle to explore dynamics of power and express interpretations through creative movement. To learn more about the program, watch the behind-the-scenes video.

Special Initiatives

The Clark is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for developing innovative programs that demonstrate how engaging with art can meet both individual and community needs.

These responsive programs are offered free of charge. Please contact our Education Department Coordinator, Lily McGartland, if you would like to learn more.

Mental health initiative

This initiative involves working with the mental health community to encourage professionals and clients to spend time at the Clark—engaging with our collection and enjoying our campus as part of their efforts to be healthy. Although we do not “do therapy” at the Clark, we believe that a visit to the museum can be therapeutic, and that a sense of belonging and ownership of a magnificent and beautiful place like the Clark can help people feel well and connected in their communities.

RX for wellbeing at the clark

This multifaceted, community-based, research project, supported by funding from Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), explores the therapeutic potential of art to improve mental health and wellbeing in clients of all ages. The Clark works with local mental health professionals who encourage client interactions with the museum as part of a treatment plan.

Groups with developmental disabilities

Engaging with art can enhance a sense of well-being and an appreciation of shared humanity for all people. With this in mind, the Clark provides educator-led gallery talks for groups with developmental disabilities by appointment.

meet me at the clark

People with dementia and their caregivers engage with museum staff in conversation about art on select Mondays when the museum is closed to the public. This special access creates a peaceful, reflective environment for enjoying art. The primary goal of the program is to encourage self-expression, meaningful interactions, and a positive social experience for people with dementia, the people who love them, and the professionals involved with their care.

head starT with art at the clark

Regional Head Start students participate in a program of repeat visits to the Clark designed to support the development of language, literacy, and kindergarten readiness skills. Students learn about museums and art through guided discussions and gallery explorations led by members of the Clark's Education Department.

The Head Start with Art at the Clark program was developed in direct response to the impact of federal budget cuts to Head Start funding. The Clark recognized the role it could play in restoring culturally and socially enriching experiences for Head Start students that may not otherwise have the opportunity to take part, while also inspiring them to share the benefits and enjoyment of museum visits with their families.

The program model has been recognized for excellence by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and has been shared with many other museums across the northeast.

Responding to art involves self expression

Responding to Art Involves Self Expression (RAISE) is a five-session program designed in collaboration with the Berkshire County Juvenile Court System and hosted by the Clark. RAISE participants take part in a series of activities that harness the potential of art to explore what it means to be a human being. Each session is designed to promote positive self-awareness and sensitivity to others. The program culminates in a graduation ceremony that celebrates the participants’ achievements in the program. The final week begins with each participant leading a half-hour gallery talk for their parents or guardians, school personnel, and court officials.

PROGRAM GOALS INCLUDE:

  • Expanding students’ sense of human experience and possibility, including a more constructive perspective of how they fit into the larger world
  • Learning to look at, think about, and talk about art in a meaningful way
  • Realizing that every student’s view matters
  • Considering an art museum as a place where the students belong
  • Becoming more aware of individual competencies

Since its inception in 2006, RAISE has served more than 200 adolescents aged 12–17 from Berkshire County. Following their program experiences, students report that they find the museum a peaceful and comforting place, and many express the desire to go back because they feel a sense of personal ownership. Court personnel report that the recidivism rate for RAISE program graduates is close to zero, illustrating the power of art to change lives.

The RAISE program has won many national and international awards, and the curriculum has been shared with other museums in the U.S. and across the world.

curating a culture of respect

Curating a Culture of Respect (CCR) was established in 2013 by the Clark as a collaborative project within the FRAME organization (French American Museum Exchange—a consortium of 15 French and 15 American museums) as a program that addresses violence (from bullying to terrorism) with a goal of prevention. Locally, the program has evolved as a collaboration between the Clark, MASS MoCA, and WCMA. CCR connects middle school students with art museums to contemplate human nature and social issues and to encourage them to be more cognizant of their own personal power in shaping positive futures. 

In-depth gallery talks and conversational-style tours as well as complementary activities focused on the power of the arts are hosted at the three museums. The program has made a greater impact by involving cohorts from entire grade levels and working with teachers to integrate art-centric methods, content, and ideas into their curricula.