Clark Art's Renovation Boost for Berkshire Economy
Officials at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown say the economic impact of its 180-million dollar expansion, now underway, includes hundreds of jobs for Massachusetts workers and millions in new tax revenues.
The museum, more commonly known as The Clark, is visited by two hundred thousand people annually, making it the second-most-visited cultural destination in Berkshire County. But as it continues a major renovation and expansion, museum director Michael Conforti hopes the impact -- of its visitors and new construction on the region's economy -- does not go overlooked.
"The notion of translating that into economic impact isn't something that we regularly promote. So it was an opportunity of reflecting on that impact at a time when that impact is greater because of a one hundred eighty million dollar building program."
The Clark commissioned a study, conducted by the Boston-based Economic Development Research Group, outlining a series of direct and indirect impacts, including the creation of five hundred twenty three construction jobs over the three-year project— though only 86 of those are for Berkshire County-based workers, with specialists from elsewhere in Massachusetts, as well as metro Albany, accounting for the bulk of construction jobs.
The study also forecasts an annual increase in tourism generating over nine and a half million dollars in local spending annually and creating an additional one hundred fourteen Berkshire jobs. The study also estimates nearly one million dollars in additional tax revenue during construction, with an increase of about half that amount continuing every year after the project's completion.
Michael Supranowicz, president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, says any increase in visitors is a broad-based boon for local businesses.
"That's spread among, you know, hotels, motels, restaurants, retail trade, real estate, health care insurance, you know, printing, postal, newspaper publishers. The whole community benefits from an increase in cultural visitors."
The Clark's expansion, including additional gallery space, a new visitors' center and enhanced access to the grounds of the museum's campus, is due to open to the public in July, 20-14.