Well! While I was having a relapse of my late-winter cold, I came across Jenn Popper's news story on possible sale of the Bierstadt paintings. First I thought she had a scoop, but then I found out the Courier News and Queen City Pride also posted the press release online.
It seems Mayor Adrian O. Mapp wants to sell them and use the proceeds to launch "Plainfield Promise," a scholarship and financial literacy program for students. The idea of selling them goes way back, but city attorneys have always said terms of the gift by Dr. J. Ackerman Coles in 1919 prevented a sale.
For many years, Columbus Day in Plainfield brought out friends and foes of the painting that shows the explorer landing in San Salvador and being greeted by kneeling indigenous people. Resident Kay Cotignola went to extremes to stick up for Italian heritage, while Rasheed Abdul-Haqq repeated his distaste for what he saw as a racist encounter. See Plaintalker's 2005 post "Columbus Day in Plainfield." Both protagonists are now deceased, and the subject has seldom come up again.
Mapp wants to start a trust called "Plainfield Promise" that will include establishment of a bank account for every child entering the school district and financial aid for eligible college students who cannot afford tuition.
He mentioned it in his State of the City Address in February and I asked for more information, but was told it was not ready yet. See my Commentary on Plainfield Promise
There is a sort of precedent for scholarships in the Adele DeLeeuw fund established with $1 million the late Plainfield author earned. Plainfield Promise has many hurdles to cross before becoming real, so let's wait and see what the court says first.