Workers at the Maine’s State House Dome are currently part way through a $1.3 million process of having its old, leaking, green, oxidized Copper dome replaced with a shiny brand new one. As work continues to replace the 7,000 square feet worth of Copper atop the State House which is more than 100 years old, lawmakers on the Legislative Council have accepted a plan to sell much of the metal to artists and craftsmen as a way to preserve and maintain the metal’s iconic and cultural value. Originally plans were to sell the old Copper roof as scrap metal to help fund the refurbishment, approximately $12,000 was expected to be raised upon recycling depending on the ebb and flow of Copper spot market prices.
However, a more thoughtful proposal of re-purposing the oxidized Copper as raw materials for local artists to turn in to sculptures, jewelry and other art pieces was made and the Legislative Council have given their nod of approval. “Any time you can incorporate Maine artists into a historically significant project, and potentially employ Maine artists, that’s a good thing,” said Julie Richard, the Maine Arts Commission’s executive director.
This new repurposing proposal has five core elements that will help determine where the old copper will end up.
Firstly, some of it will be melted down and recast into commemorative collectables and keepsakes such as coins and medallions which will be sold or distributed to the public. Small workable sheets will be sold to local jewelers and artisans to be remade into various jewelries, Current market value for oxidized green copper is about $400 for a 1 meter-squared sheet but it will likely be sold for cheaper than that. A portion of the material would be given or sold well below market value to Maine sculptors or educational institutions for use in creating 3-D works that may be sold or used for educational purposes. Some is hoped to turned into new public art commission for the State Capitol Complex in Maine. Finally, pieces that are not intact enough to be repurposed into anything will be recycled as scrap and the proceeds used to help fund future projects of the Maine Arts Commission.
The restoration project is expected to be finished by October this year.
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Zenn B.//SMC Editor