Maine Artists Could Get Some Copper from State House Dome

Jul 25, 2014

Scaffolding surrounds the State House dome, which is getting a new coat of copper.
Scaffolding surrounds the State House dome, which is getting a new coat of copper.
Credit Mal Leary

Workers are in the midst of replacing the copper sheath on the State House dome and are scheduled to finish their work this fall. Now, Maine artists could get a chance to use some of the old copper from the dome for their works, under a plan being considered by a legislative leadership panel.

Lawmakers on the Legislative Council had planned to sell the old copper for scrap, before asking the Maine Arts Commission to come up with a more creative use for the leftover metal.

The commission's plan has five parts:

Part of the copper would be melted down and used to create a commemorative object like a coin.

Some would be sold to Maine artisans and jewelers for use in art pieces to be sold commercially.

A third portion would be sold to sculptors or educational institutions for use in three dimensional works of art.

A fourth would be set aside as the primary material to be used to create works of art at the state capitol complex.

And the most degraded sections of metal would be recycled and sold on the open market, with proceeds going to fund the rest of the arts commission's proposals.

Before it acts, the legislative council wants to see a specific budget for each part of the plan.