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Massachusetts Cultural Council blasts Berkshire Museum over decision to sell art

The Berkshire Museum plans to sell 40 works of art, including two by Normal Rockwell, from its collection.
The Berkshire Museum plans to sell 40 works of art, including two by Normal Rockwell, from its collection. –Michael Lavin Flower

The Massachusetts Cultural Council has added its name to the growing list of those opposed to the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell 40 artworks from its collection to help bolster its endowment and fund renovations as part of a “refreshed mission.’’

In a statement that called the plan “a violation of the Museum’s public trust,’’ the MCC is urging the museum’s board to “reverse its decision to sell these artworks and explore alternatives to stabilize its finances.’’

MCC communications director Greg Liakos said the organization has also put “a hold’’ on a $22,000 grant to the Pittsfield museum pending an inquiry by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. A representative of the attorney general’s office has confirmed that it was reviewing whether the proposed sale conforms to applicable charities law. Liakos said that MCC executive director Anita Walker planned to meet with staff at the attorney general’s office on Thursday. He added that the MCC has awarded the Berkshire Museum roughly $1.16 million in direct grants over the past 10 years.

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