SAVE THE ART (STA) is an ad hoc citizens group formed in the summer of 2017 to protest the Berkshire Museum’s intent to sell its art for reasons that violated the long-held ethical standards of museum governance,* which stipulate deaccession proceeds must directly enhance collections and/or their care. This ethical principle is fundamental to the protection of the Public Trust: works of art held in public collections (like the Berkshire Museum’s) are our common heritage, owned by citizens for their benefit and succeeding generations in perpetuity.
The Berkshire Museum’s plan was to sell forty works of art that formed the core of its collection to correct a financial shortfall and support their “New Vision”— which proposed a major reconstruction of the building, and focused on science while marginalizing art. Both the misuse of sale funds and the fundamental change in mission violated the board’s responsibility to the communities it serves — and were carried out in the face of sustained public outcry and attempts to find an alternate solution.
SAVE THE ART (STA)
A grassroots citizens group established in 2017 with the intent of stopping the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s treasured art collection in order to find an alternate solution to its continued financial shortfall.