Letter: Clark art is educating schoolchildren in arts

Clark Art is educating schoolchildren in arts

To the editor:

Dorothy van den Honert brings many arguments to bear in her September 13 op-ed column on "weaknesses in the charter case," but I was struck that almost as an aside she notes funding for arts education in public schools is sadly lacking today. The value of arts education and how it stimulates various kinds of growth in children has been well-documented.

That is one reason why, in the absence of state funding for art and music in the schools, the Clark Art Institute is making concerted efforts to offer arts experiences to the schoolchildren of Berkshire County and beyond.

As a docent at the Clark, I have seen firsthand the power art wields both inside and outside of the classroom. We believe that engaging with art helps young people to think about classroom content and the world in new ways.

At the Clark we work with classroom teachers to offer free talks in our galleries tailored to meet their needs and those of their students. We believe the use of the artworks in our collection enables us to help teachers shape students to be creative and conscientious citizens of our shared world — which is the primary goal of our Education Department. Not confined to formal education curricula, however, the Clark also hosts a variety of specialized outreach programs that invite individuals of all ages and development levels to engage with art, from preschooler to dementia patients.

I am proud to be part of a team working at the Clark to create ever-increasing activities that encourage people of all ages to engage in art. If, as van den Honert suggests, the arts are suffering in our local schools, a visit to the Clark might be the answer.

Margo Bowden, Williamstown


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