Stop the sale of 40 works of art held in public trust for the people of the Berkshires
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The Berkshire Museum, a museum devoted to art, history, and science in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, intends to sell 40 works of art to fund an endowment for operations and a building renovation. These works of art represent the very best in the Berkshire Museum's collection. In addition to two paintings by Norman Rockwell, which were donated to the Berkshire Museum by Rockwell himself for the enjoyment of the community, past, present and future (the sale of which the descendants of Mr. Rockwell have objected to publicly), the Museum plans to sell artworks by major American artists including Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Rembrandt Peale, and Alexander Calder as well as popular paintings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and examples of Old Master, Impressionist, Japanese, and Chinese art. Many of these artists are not otherwise available to the people of Berkshire County.
We believe that the these works are part of the irreplaceable cultural legacy of Pittsfield and Berkshire County. We support the Museum's future viability. We ask the board to PAUSE and reconsider their decision. We believe that saving the art and ensuring the museum's success are fully compatible goals. We offer to engage the expertise and imagination of the arts community to fashion a different solution to the museum's issues.
We assert that:
- Art and artifacts held by museums are held in trust for the community and are not disposable financial assets. To sell collection to fund building and other operations violates the professional standards of museums--indeed it undermines the very purpose of museums.
- This sale will not "save" the museum financially. It is at best a temporary fix, and at worst an action that will only damage the museum's ability to sustain itself in the future by having a chilling effect on future donations and attendance.
- We are committed to helping the Berkshire Museum remain an open and vibrant resource for the people of Pittsfield.
Stop the sale of the art at The Berkshire Museum and ensure that future generations of local children and adults will have the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these treasures.
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