Are street art mini models worth moolah?

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One of six maquettes currently on display at the Coeur d’Alene Library depicting art that could be destined for the Seltice Way roundabout. (RALPH BARTHOLDT/Press)

COEUR d’ALENE — They are called maquettes, and they are fun, City Council members agree.

The miniature pieces big enough for table decorations, or for the bookshelf, are small models of street art. They’re used by artists pitching their ideas to the city’s Arts Commission.

Despite being adored, cherished and esteemed, the city wants to unload the dozens of maquettes it has collected over the years. Shipping them to the landfill is among options for permanent storage.

On the other hand, City Administrator Troy Tymesen said the maquettes may have value to art enthusiasts, high school or college art departments, collectors or even the artists who made them.

Monday, he asked City Council members on the General Services Committee to declare them surplus property, which would allow the city to off-load the miniature art collection.

“The idea is to ... then get rid of them in the most economical way possible even if it means they go off to the landfill, if no one wants them,” Tymesen said. “We do have an investment in these.”

The Arts Commission had similarly discussed what to do with the small pieces. Council member Dan Gookin suggested they be auctioned to the highest bidders.

“I would favor the silent auction at the mayor’s awards as a more respectful way to deal with these because I think they are cool,” Gookin said. “I think these are fun.”

The Arts Commission had also urged the city to auction them at the annual award ceremony in October.

“Raise a little money for all the right reasons and have a little fun with it at the same time,” Tymesen said.

Six maquettes are currently on display at the Coeur d’Alene Library depicting art that could be destined for the Seltice Way roundabout.

“They show us the scale, the texture, some of the color from these artists who are proposing art come to the city,” Tymesen said. “We’d love to have (people) come in to take a look at and vote on them.”

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