Save the Art group receives a “Champion of Artists” award from the Massachusetts Artist Leaders Coalition (MALC) at the State House in Boston

The 2018 MALC Champions of Artists Award Winners. Left to R, Ken Green (STA), Adrienne Hawkins (Dance Artist, Master Teacher, Choreographer, Meri Jenkins (Former Cultural Districts Program Manager/Mass Cultural Council, Julie Hennrikus (Founder of Your Ladders, Arts Advocate, Mystery Author), Lou Jones (Photographer) and the Save the Art – Save the Museum group (Art Advocates Protecting the Public Trust at the Berkshire Museum)

12th Annual Artists Under the Dome
Great Hall at the State House
November 14, 2018

SAVE THE ART–SAVE THE MUSEUM (STA) received a “Champion of Artists” award from the Massachusetts Artists Leader’s Coalition (MALC) in recognition of its efforts to stop the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s treasured art collection and increase awareness of the critical issue of protection of the Public Trust.

MALC is a statewide coalition formed to ensure that Massachusetts artists have a voice in key public policy initiatives that impact artists and the creative economy. The award honored STA for “the protection of all artists’ rights with regard to their legacy wishes, from donating work to their designated collecting institutions, to protecting work held in the public trust by art museums. We all owe them great thanks.”

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2018 Champion of Artists Awardee Spotlight: Save the Art–Save the Museum (STA-STM)

October 28, 2018

As we lead up to 12th Annual “Artists Under The Dome” Event and the MALC 2018 “Champion of Artists” Awards on November 14, 2018, at the State House, we are highlighting each of the six “Champion of Artists” awardees. This post is highlighting Save the Art–Save the Museum (STA-STM): “Art advocates protecting the Public Trust at the Berkshire Museum“. This particular award is given in the memory of State Representative Chris Walsh.

Berkshire Museum Case: Now “Profoundly Accessible”— Yikes!

Martin Gammon, Pergamon Art Group
June 1, 2018

Another day, another statement… Now in the form of an extended release from the board of trustees to the Berkshire Museum community…

In truth, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the PR team at the Berkshire Museum, or whoever has been compelled to compose the blather they have been crafting in their occasional press releases. Rather than honestly and straightforwardly addressing the raft of specific allegations of ethical malfeasance by the board and their enablers, they have resorted to tortuous paeans about community building and securing the future, apparently hoping this might divert attention from further exposing their callous disregard of donor intent and the museum’s founding mission. And yet, even these saccharine bromides fail to conceal the dissonant chords rumbling beneath the rhetorical sheen.

Berkshire Museum’s Murky “Transparency”: Parsing the Half-Truths in Its “Open Letter”

If this is transparency, we can only wonder what opacity looks like.

Lee Rosenbaum’s Cultural Commentary Blog
May 31, 2018

The Berkshire Museum today posted an open letter to its community that is intended to show its “commitment to transparency, cooperation, outreach,” according to an email from its spokesperson that hit my inbox late this afternoon.

But the “open letter” was less than transparent in describing what happened to the priciest of the museum’s deaccessions:

Deaccessioning: The good, the bad, and the illegal

by Felix Salmon, Cause & Effect
October 23, 2017

I’ve been clear for some months now that I consider the Berkshire Museum’s current deaccessioning plan to be a very, very bad idea. But is it illegal?

The opponents of the sale would certainly love it to be, and now they have their wish: a lawsuit has been filed (the whole thing is here, if you want to read it for yourself), and it’s as strong as anybody could have hoped.

The Lost Masterpieces of Norman Rockwell Country

The Berkshire Museum’s most valuable art works are two paintings that Norman Rockwell personally donated. Photo by Underwood Archives / Getty

by Felix Salmon, The New Yorker
October 4, 2017

The Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, are one of those tourist destinations where you feel the need to set your watch back fifty years or so. The region is conservative, with a small “c,” sprinkled with small farms, rolling hills, clapboard houses. It is, quite literally, Norman Rockwell country—for the last quarter century of his life, Rockwell lived in Berkshire County.

In recent weeks, however, the oldest museum in Pittsfield, the Berkshires’ largest town, has divided the local community, prompted an investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general, and placed this bucolic county at the center of a firestorm.

Why a Massachusetts museum selling its prized Norman Rockwell painting should worry art museums everywhere

The Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell 40 works of art, including one of Norman Rockwell’s best paintings, to pay bills has generated protests. ©2017 Photo by Gillian Jones / AP

Christopher Knight, LA Times Art Critic
August 23, 2017

Maybe it’s the record-breaking summer temperatures, exacerbated by global warming, but some art museum folks in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts seem to be suffering from heatstroke. Plainly they’ve lost their minds.

In late July, the Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield’s local newspaper, reported that the Berkshire Museum, the town’s long-struggling museum of history, science and art, finished off a two-year self-examination by deciding to sell off 40 of the most notable paintings, sculptures and drawings from a collection not known to be overstuffed with outstanding art.

Berkshire Museum Faces Uproar Over Sale of Artworks from Collection

Norman Rockwell, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, 1950. Rockwell gifted his painting to the Berkshire Museum and for the benefit of the citizens.

Artforum, July 25, 2017

Two paintings by Norman Rockwell—Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop, 1940, and Shuffleton Barbershop, 1950—are among a group of forty artworks lined up to be sold at auction from the collection of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The proceeds from the sales will be used to fund the Berkshire’s $20 million renovation and $40 million endowment, report Helen Stoilas and Gabriella Angeleti of the Art Newspaper. Some say the venue, which belongs to the American Alliance of Museums, is violating the coalition’s code of ethics, as sales of this kind are typically done to support the purchase of other artworks for an institution’s permanent collection.