Father's Day enlivens Summer Family Day at The Clark

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WILLIAMSTOWN — Jeff Kross and 10-year-old son Owen typically play table tennis by stringing a net across the dining room table at their home in Delmar, N.Y.

On Sunday, the paddling duo actually got to strike the little white plastic ball on a real table tennis "court" thanks to the Clark Art Institute.

The Krosses were celebrating Father's Day during The Clark's annual Summer Family Day outdoors be the reflecting pool.

The father-son quality time together began earlier when Owen gave the man of the house a homemade card.

"He drew me a trophy that said '#1 Dad,'" Mr. Kross said.

Dads, moms, grandparents and hundreds of children were among the estimated 2,000 people who attended the annual family-friendly gathering designed to promote the museum's summer exhibits and programming, according to the director of education, Ronna Tulgan Ostheimer.

The table tennis, lawn chess, face painting, lively music and entertainment complimented by a variety of food and beverages had the feel of a large family reunion picnic.

"This event makes The Clark feel accessible to those who otherwise might not think to come here," she said.

Intended as a Father's Day outing, Brad Morse and Erin Willey found it was more about their two sons Quinn, 4 and Sawyer, 2.

"Mostly been chasing the kids around and keeping them happy," Morse said as the family had a somewhat relaxing bite to eat.

He added, "I'm looking forward to seeing the art inside."

Ken Ojukwu and six-year-old daughter Olivia spent some time at the toga tent when kids got to make laurel-style head wreaths and wrap themselves in white cloth pretending to be Greeks. The activity paying tribute to Sir Lawrence Alama-Tadema whose famous painting "The Women of Amphissa" on display at The Clark through early September.

A Williams College alum, Ojukwu was helping Olivia make her wreath, mainly as support as arts and crafts isn't his thing.

"This is more than I typically do. She's the artist," he noted.

The Clark's other high profile art exhibits feature the works of Helen Frankthaler, a Williams College artist-in-resident nearly 40 years ago and Pablo Picasso. The painting artists on hand used Picasso as inspiration for decorating dozens of children's faces.

Several members from the School of Drama at Yale brought "The Women of Amphissa" to life wearing costumes of Ancient Greece.

A Williamstown native, Patrick Madden returned home to dress as Calliope, a female muse.

Except for one person, no one else recognized Madden — and he liked it that way.

"It's fun being in costume; feels like I have a secret walking around," he said.

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233


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