Iseman supported Mayor Kelly Boyd’s suggestion of offering the palettes for sale to the public. She said restoration might be possible in some cases. Iseman also made a pitch for private storage, which coincidentally the Laguna Beach Historical Society is also seeking for its artifacts.
“I hold this dear to my heart,” said Iseman, who regards the palettes as history as well as art.
“Two years ago I did the palette project [gift cards from selected palette images].” Iseman said. “In the process of making choices, I discovered documentary irregularities”
Iseman was somewhat mollified by Commission Chairwoman Pat Kollenda’s assurance that the palettes proposed for deaccession had been painstakingly cataloged.
Kollenda said two days were spent cataloging all 286 palettes currently in the city’s collection.
“Some of them cannot be repaired,” Kollenda said “They look like they were hit by a truck and other things you don’t want to hear about.”
Of the remaining 200 palettes after deaccession, about 26 will need to be repaired during the upcoming year.
The palettes are an outdoor holiday display, unique to Laguna, hung on lamp posts between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, a tradition going back decades.
Artists compete to have palettes accepted in the collection and the winners, selected by the City Council with recommendations by the Arts Commission, are awarded a cash prize — which evolved from a much humbler beginning that the city almost dumped.
Originally, the palettes were silk-screened by the late Earl Secor, a local sign painter, first in his shop and later at his Coast View home.