Thursday, June 7, 2018

Travesty of Treasure

Today's topic is one more step in the seemingly relentless erosion of the rights of the public as a group, not just individually.

The artworks in the Art Museum of my youth are being auctioned to provide dollars for a proposed expansion, as well as to cover a supposed operating expenses shortfall, neither of which were the intentions of e donors.  This move has been opposed strongly by members of the community and of the art world.   

below is my letter to the local newspaper, the Berkshire Eagle:

To the Editor of the Berkshire Eagle:

I was saddened and then appalled when I first heard about the sale of the 40 works of art from the Berkshire Museum.

I was raised in Pittsfield, and still think of Museums as places of worship.  One important gift upon moving to New York City in my twenties (to pursue a career in art and design) was the number and variety of museums.  I have visited many if not most of the art museums, which the time spent at my hometown museum taught me to value.

But no matter the type of museum, the elimination of assets without the participation of museum members and ignoring the interests of the community is a travesty and shows disdain for the idea of the public trust, a concept being chipped away at an increasing rate recently. Many of these artworks were gifted with the expectation, for some contractual, that they would be viewable by the County community.

The so-called "compromise" by the Attorney General of sending some works for display in a city 300 miles away and to which Berkshire County residents are offered free admission is no compromise.

Living less than a mile from Sotheby's, I will stand proudly in front at the next sale, as a Berkshire County native, protesting the insult and sellout of the community by the Museum board. Massachusetts should take the word "common" out of Commonwealth.

More letters:

Feb. 9, 2018: Museum Board "transparency", in opinion of a museum and arts  professional:

Berkshire Eagle stories:


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