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.
Celebrating the fifth year for this popular event, this innovative opportunity for child-directed play is included with regular museum admission and is available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. "Ten Days of Play" is part of Pittsfield's 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival.
Widely regarded as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season in the Berkshires, the annual event will feature more than 100 dazzling decorated trees, bedecked in film world finery, reflecting this year's movie theme.
Elizabeth "Buzz" Hayes McGraw is taking the reins as president; she has been a trustee since 2008 and has served as vice-president since 2013. William “Bill” Hines Jr. will resume his role as a trustee after serving as president for five years; he joined the board in 2007.