In 2004, 70 artist-decorated, oversized, fiberglass Merino sheep transformed Pittsfield’s slightly decrepit, downtown streetscape into a visual playground of color, humor, history, and excitement. Under the Berkshire Art Association’s non-profit leadership in cooperation with the City of Pittsfield, a large group of people and organizations, supported generously by local businesses, came together to make Pittsfield’s downtown a destination through the draw of the sheep. Sheeptacular Pittsfield! focused on Merino sheep as the source of the City’s very earliest prosperity – the agricultural and industrial innovations of pioneers in the woolen industry.
By 2004, Pittsfield had moved away from the heavy industrial base that had defined it in the 20th century, but its vision for itself as a vibrant center in arts was still unformed and uncertain. Through the remarkable creativity of regional artists, Sheeptacular Pittsfield! became a transforming event. People flocked to Pittsfield to see the sheep, walk the sheep-walk, photograph the sheep, and visit their favorites over and over again.
Today, a few sheep remain in evidence inside or in front of local businesses, but they have mostly disappeared from public view. The City of Pittsfield has continued its remarkable transformation. In 2012, its Upstreet Cultural District was one of the first cultural districts created in Massachusetts. The BAA presents here for your personal enjoyment the sheep gallery as photographed in 2004 by Kevin Sprague for Sheeptacular Pittsfield! (Photos © Sheeptacular Pittsfield! – aka, the Berkshire Art Association.)[portfolio_slideshow id=315]
For a look at the sheep in their places of installation, please click HERE.