There isn’t much out there in the museum world quite like The Clark Art Institute. Incredible art holdings? Check. World class art research library and teaching programs which churn out the best and brightest into the museum/curatorial world? Check. Conservation studio which both teaches and restores at the highest level? Check. Sterling and Francine Clark’s vision and generosity have expanded to beyond what they might have imagined, while remaining true to a core mission which remains firmly intact.
Recent years have brought changes and additions to this idyllic little corner of Western Massachusetts. A major addition to the museum is coming down the homestretch, ongoing renovations to the Manton Research Center are charging along, and The Lunder Center at Stone Hill has been nestled in the woods five minutes away for the past six years. It had been a while for me, and seeing the expanded museum space and collections was on my list of “redo’s”. The buildings and grounds are spectacular…and where old meets new the connections are pleasing and harmonious.
Inside, the collections are mind-boggling. And to say that is not hyperbole. I’ll add one image below, with my helper for the week (who also happens to be my son) in deep contemplation mode. And I’ll let you figure out who the artist might be, when, and where. For a more expansive view of the collection I’d encourage you to view the Clark’s website.
After a restorative and tasty afternoon snack in the new museum cafe, we headed onward to the grounds for a stretch of the legs. If you’re just looking for a pleasant place for an idyllic stroll, once again The Clark doesn’t disappoint. Strolling up the hill brought us to Thomas Schütte’s Crystal. And spectacular and expansive views.
A final stroll across fields and down a dirt road brought us to the Lunder Center at Stone Hill – and a perfect place for a reflected father and son selfie. We were feeling very satisfied after our lovely afternoon interlude at the new, old, and always bold Clark. I encourage you to do the same whenever your schedule might permit. You won’t be disappointed. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Clark!