Opponents of Berkshire Museum art sale plan rally, legal expense fundraiser

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PITTSFIELD — People who oppose the Berkshire Museum's sale of works from its collection will stage a third public rally this weekend.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, members of the Save the Art-Save the Museum citizens' group will gather outside the 39 South St. institution. They are calling on the museum's board to delay the sale of artworks, which is to begin with the auction of seven American pieces Nov. 13 at Sotheby's in New York City.

Also this week, the group is holding a fundraiser at Wandering Star Craft Brewery at 11 Gifford St. from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Tickets for that event, which will include food and music as well as craft beer, are $20 at the door.

Proceeds will support legal action and public outreach by the group in its bid to keep works in the museum collection — including two Norman Rockwell paintings worth tens of millions of dollars — from leaving the area.

Leslie Ferrin, founder of Save the Art-Save the Museum, said the gathering will allow people who oppose the sale to visit and compare notes, while aiding the cause.

Christopher Post, the brewery's owner, said that while he counts himself as a museum backer, he doesn't approve of the sale of art.

"I felt strongly about doing this to help keep the art that was given to our community, in the community," Post said in a statement provided by Save the Art-Save the Museum. "When I asked fellow businesspeople about donations for the silent auction, it became clear how broadly based the public is in their opposition to the sale."

The museum's leaders say they will fight a new legal challenge and believe it is within their right to use proceeds from the sales to shift its exhibition strategy and improve the institution's financial position in the face of an ongoing budget deficit.

Save the Art-Save the Museum has raised nearly $15,000 in an online campaign since Oct. 8.

For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/savetheartsavethemuseum.


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