Clark reopens to much fanfare in Williamstown


Photo Gallery | Clark Art Institute reopens with celebration

WILLIAMSTOWN -- The steady rain did not seem to dampen spirits or attendance at the reopening of the Clark Art Institute Friday.

Clark officials said more than 1,500 people showed up to picnic in the rain. The picnic began at noon, an hour before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Under a small army of umbrellas, and after comments by state Sen. Benjamin Downing, Clark Director Michael Conforti made it a point to thank local supporters, and said local art lovers are welcome year-round through a variety of events and programs.

The ribbon was cut, and the umbrellas began marching toward the entrance of the new Clark Center, which is now the main entryway to the galleries.

Much of the gallery space had been closed for two years to accommodate the final phase of the $145 million, 15-year expansion project. The new 42,600-square-foot Clark Center, which also serves as the main entryway to the campus and visitor center, was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando. The original Museum Building expansion and renovation was designed by Selldorf Architects, and the Clark's campus was redesigned by Reed Hilderbrand.

As expected, the one-acre, three-tiered reflecting pool -- which serves as the centerpiece of the landscape design -- was a big hit with the kids, even in the rain. Some were able to catch a couple of tadpoles. During his comments, Conforti said the reflecting pool will be even more fun in the winter, when it will be used for skating.

John and Abby Brodowski of Rutland, Vt., brought their two-year-old daughter to the opening. Both said they were excited that the Clark was fully open again, and that they had missed visiting.

Abby Brodowski said she liked the color choices of the gallery walls in the original museum building.

John Brodowski said he is looking forward to bringing his art class students back to the Clark.

"I'm looking forward to it because for the last few years it's only been partially open, so it will be exciting," he said.

Vicki Saltzman, director of communications at the Clark, said today was exciting for the staff as well.

"This is what we have been working for," she said. "It's been a long, intense effort."

To reach Scott Stafford:,
or (413) 663-3741, ext. 227.
On Twitter: @BESStafford


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