The History of the Clark Center
In 1995, the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, located about 45 miles south of Fresno in the town of Hanford, was founded by Elizabeth and Willard G. "Bill" Clark to "collect, conserve, study, and exhibit" the paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts of Japan. The rapidly growing collection is comprised of many distinguished works representing artistic activity in Japan from the 10th into the 21st century.
Through a significant gift of Japanese paintings from the Clarks, the Clark Center's collection was established in October of 1995. Today, around 1,600 works of art like hanging scrolls, screens, ceramics, kimono, sculptures mainly from the Kamakura period (1185-1333), and decorative art primarily from the Meiji period (1868-1912) are housed at the Center. Among the highlights of the collection are exquisite Buddhist sculpture and painting from the Kamakura period, a wide range of paintings from the Edo period (1615-1868), and a selection of folding screens of the finest quality.
The Clark Center is located in the great interior valley of California. Its comfortable facility and rural setting offer a modern "scholar's studio" environment for contemplation and study. As they enter the first gallery, visitors are greeted with paintings/single screens displayed in tokonoma (alcoves) with tatami (bamboo straw mats), integral elements to a traditional Japanese-style home. The main gallery features natural light diffused with ultraviolet protective glass. Artificial lighting is used when appropriate and the gallery is completely darkened when not in use.
A vital part of the Clark Center is the growing library of now 7,000 volumes specializing on Japanese art and a research facility for visiting scholars. Through its collection, internship program, lectures, symposia, and library resources, the Center hopes to contribute substantially to the development of scholarship in the field. Scholars are encouraged to make advance arrangements for research of the collection.
The Clark Center is featured as the December 09 Cultural Arts Spotlight on Valley Public Television.
The Clark Foundation for the Study of Art (1995–1997)
The Clark Center for Japanese Art (1997–2000)
The Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art at the Clark Center (2000–2006)
The Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture (since 2006)