April 22, 1999 12:00 AM

Mel Gibson has donated $640,000 to the Sydney, Australia, school where he studied acting from 1977-80, officials said. The donation to the National Institute of Dramatic Art was announced Wednesday at a function to celebrate the school’s 40th birthday. The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported the money would help the college build a new theater, film and TV studio and performance arts library. In other charitable acts announced recently:

  • Rock star Eric Clapton announced he was selling 100 of his 150 guitars to raise money for a drink and drug abuse center in Antigua. The British blues guitarist, who has spoken extensively about his own battles to recover from a 20-year addiction to drugs and alcohol, is expected to raise about $750,000 for the Crossroads Center that he founded in 1997 on the Caribbean island.

  • Paul Newman and Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein have donated $50,000 each toward preserving a piece of open space in their hometown. Westport CT is trying to raise $1.2 million to buy just under an acre of land across from Sherwood Island on Sherwood Millpond. The gifts from Newman and Weinstein bring donations to more than $120,000.

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