Clark Art Institute lands $600,000 grant for Research and Academic Program

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WILLIAMSTOWN — A $600,000 grant will allow the Clark Art Institute to continue funding research and scholarship in art history and visual studies through its Research and Academic Program.

The grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provides three years of programing support for the program as it pursues new initiatives and continues on with established programs founded with earlier financial support from the foundation.

"We deeply appreciate the Mellon Foundation's support of our Research and Academic Program," said Francis Oakley, the Clark's interim director. "Their commitment to fostering international conversations about important issues in the field is critical, and is so closely aligned with RAP's mission to encourage the exchange of new ideas and enhance greater cross-cultural awareness and collaborations among art historians, curators, artists, and scholars from all fields."

The Clark Art Institute has a rare dual mission as an art museum and educational institute that promotes academic endeavors in art history and art theory. The institute is housed at the Manton Research Center.

The Melon Foundation has been a major supporter of the program for many years.

"They've helped us enormously in building the research institute," said Michael Ann Holly, consulting director of the Clark's RAP. "And the Mellon Foundation helps us keep this machine going."

RAP is dedicated to expanding the public's understanding of art. It has long been recognized internationally as a world leader in programs devoted to art history, critical theory, and visual studies, according to Christopher Heuer, associate director of the RAP.

"It's kind of like a think tank for art," he said, "We like to stay ahead of ideas. What is important about visual art, and what don't we know?"

The Mellon Foundation has previously supported the Clark's RAP initiatives in East-Central Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.

The new grant allows the Clark to move ahead with plans to explore global partnerships in Latin America and on topics related to countries in the region.

In addition, the Mellon funds will support participation by international scholars in RAP's ongoing series of programs in Williamstown.

The grant also will fund two semester-long Mellon Decade Fellowships to support the work of emerging scholars who have held a PhD for roughly 10 years. The grant will also fund the Clark's Summer Collaborative Working Group to create an opportunity for scholars to apply for group projects.

"The prospect of executing a variety of programs that address the continuing challenges of studying visual art in national and international forums is most welcome," Holly said. "Christopher Heuer and I are as honored to have received new Mellon funding for these initiatives as we are indebted for the foundation's past support."

Contact Scott Stafford at 413-496-6301.


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