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.”
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.