The Berkshire Museum is a place you can grow up in, according to Jeff Rodgers.
Rodgers is the new executive director of the museum and started his new gig on Monday. He comes in the wake of a controversial period of the 116-year-old museum's history when museum officials sold off nearly two dozen pieces of its collection to raise $53 million. The sale of the art spurred significant backlash and torn a rift in the community.
"We are making thoughtful additions to a strong staff as the Berkshire Museum moves into the future with a renewed commitment to our community and our mission," said Elizabeth McGraw, president of the museum's Board of Trustees. "Local students and educators are seeking more from the museum, and we are working hard with them to expand opportunities for learning."
Five new trustees are joining the Berkshire Museum's board of trustees, bringing to the board significant expertise in community development, diversity and inclusion, STEM education, entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and communications, and art.
Tom Patti considered it a compliment to have his art in the same building as Norman Rockwell and Alexander Calder.
Patti had his work commissioned for the Berkshire Museum. He has pieces at the entrance, the foyer, and in three other locations. But now, Patti doesn't feel that the museum values local artists.
The Berkshire Museum has released its financial reports in an effort to prove that the art sale was needed to keep the museum open.
The museum posted its independent audit, its federal tax statement Form 990, the Massachusetts state tax statement required as a non-profit, and annual filing for charitable organizations in New York State, which is filed with registration to solicit donations from New York.
The Berkshire Museum can proceed with its planned sale of some 40 pieces of art after a Supreme Judicial Court ruling Thursday.
The ruling affirms the agreement the museum had reached with Attorney General Maura Healey in February which includes allowing the museum to sell Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barbershop, provided it remains on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum for 18 months. That agreement allows the art sale to proceed but only until the museum hits $55 million.
A U.S. based museum is waiting in the wings to purchase Norman Rockwell's famed "Shuffleton's Barbershop" if an agreement between the Berkshire Museum and the Attorney General's Office is approved by the Supreme Judicial Court
The Berkshire Museum's planned art sale will go forward.
Judge John Agostini denied a request for a preliminary injunction, pausing the Sotheby's auction of some 40 pieces of artwork, starting next week and extending into March. Members of the Rockwell family, other donors, and Attorney General Maura Healey filed for the injunction to at least delay the sale. The two hoped for a restraining order of the auctions that are scheduled for next week.
We are artists, small business owners, parents, and Berkshire community members, and we support the Berkshire Museum's bold plan and vibrant vision to bring the museum into the 21st century so it can continue to creatively serve all of us.
The museum's Board of Trustees wanted to take this opportunity to share our views of the future and long-term goals that will ensure that our cherished institution will be able to enrich our community for at least another century. The reality is that our museum is facing a set of financial challenges that we must address, which requires making some difficult, and clearly, emotion-provoking decisions.
Sharon Gregory has reviewed more than a decade of the Berkshire Museum's financials and says the situation isn't nearly as dire as the organization says.
And Gregory isn't just anybody, she is someone with 40 years of financial experience. She retired as the vice president of business development and planning for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, and before that worked with a number of organizations such as Lehman Brothers and Citibank.
Save the art, pause the sale. Save the art, pause the sale.
That's what was chanted outside of the Berkshire Museum by close to 50 community members who want to halt the museum's plans to sell some 40 pieces of artwork in an effort to straighten out its finances. The Berkshire Museum has had a $1.1 million annual deficit and has crafted plans to completely revamp the museum. That, however, includes auctioning off some $50 million work of artwork.
The Berkshire Museum was faced with a choice - change, move or die.
For the last decade, the museum has faced a $1.1 million deficit in its budget, setting a course for failure. Director Van Shields described it as a threat to the museum's future. In response, the museum has crafted a bold $60 million plan to not only get its financial house in order but also modernize the museum and how it operates.