Now that approval has been given for The Berkshire Museum to sell off artworks from its collection, trustees are hoping that they can retain two-thirds of the works they can legally sell.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that the museum on Tuesday identified 13 works of art that will be offered at auctions in May at Sotheby's in New York City. There will be four auctions in total. The move comes five days after the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County granted the museum's petition to lift any restrictions and allow it to seek up to $55 million in proceeds under terms worked out with the state Attorney General's Office.

Included in the list of works to be sold next month is Norman Rockwell's "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop." That means that both paintings given by Rockwell to the museum will be removed from the Pittsfield museum's collection. Previously, in a private transaction, the museum planned to sell Rockwell's "Shuffleton's Barbershop" to an unidentified nonprofit museum. That museum is pledging to keep the paining on public display.

Museum officials say that if the May auctions plus the private museum sale of "Shuffleton's Barbershop" fetches $55 million, the sales would be halted, and that would mean that 26 other works that had been identified for sale would be returned to the museum in Pittsfield.

 

Marijuana Ordinance Finalized In Pittsfield

The Pittsfield City Council set the stage for Pittsfield's marijuana industry Tuesday.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that councilors voted overwhelmingly to impose a cap of 35 retail marijuana licenses — the same as allowable liquor licenses. Councilors said they wanted to keep the cap high enough to accommodate interest in opening marijuana facilities in Pittsfield.

Nate Joyner, of the city's Community Development Department, said he's already heard from a couple dozen interested parties. According to the Eagle reports, the City Council's Ordinances and Rules Committee voted last week to recommend no cap, but councilors were swayed to set some limits in response to Board of Health members and leaders of the Berkshire Family YMCA and Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires.

Randy Kinnas and Joe McGovern, respectively, argued in favor of maintaining the 500-foot buffer for marijuana facilities. They were collectively concerned about exposing the city's vulnerable youth to marijuana.

 

Projects Vie For Community Preservation Funds

A dozen projects in the city of Pittsfield are looking for a piece of the city’s community preservation funds. Roughly $823,000 has been requested of the city's CPA funding.The panel overseeing the funds, however, will only able to expend less than half that amount.

IBerkshires.com reports that the Community Preservation Act Committee will have somewhere between $370,000 and $390,000 for recreation and historic preservation projects.

Proponents of the dozen applications are making their cases this week for their requests and recommendations are expected to go before the City Council during the budgeting process.