To the editor:
Where is Pittsfield's Jackie Kennedy?
As those familiar with New York history know, Jackie Kennedy's passionate support helped save Grand Central from the wrecker's ball. Now one of our own historic institutions, the Berkshire Museum, needs a champion. You don't have to be a national celebrity (although it wouldn't hurt), but a person of local prominence who has the courage to help save a collection 100 years in the making — as well as one of Pittsfield's most elegant buildings — from destruction.
Who are you? Are you a trustee willing to break rank? One of our elected officials who wants to be on the right side of history? Or perhaps a concerned citizen, willing to make your position known to them?
Because it's clear by now that public opinion is on our side. Witness the exceptional proportion of letters to the editor in this and other publications, that support keeping the museum collection and building intact. Witness the over 1,300 members of the "Save the Art at the Berkshire Museum" Facebook page. Witness the over $9,000 in the Save the Art GoFundMe campaign raised in just a few days, to support legal action and public information. Witness the plethora of state and national foundations who have pledged their willingness to help. Witness the million dollars offered to the museum by a private group to pause the sale.
By now the issue has generated such local and national attention that the opportunities for fundraising are boundless, and no matter how the museum characterizes its need, it can easily make up any deficits and thrive as the custodian of Pittsfield and the Berkshire County's history. Properly promoted, these works would be a major attraction for tourists, thereby contributing greatly to Pittsfield's economy.
This is the Eleventh Hour. We need you. All it will take is nerve and vision.
The writer is a nationally-known artist and art critic who has been active in Berkshire Museum programs.