Community Sketchbook

Sunday, December 12, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:26 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008


The Tiger Spot


Paul Jackson

About the artist:

Jackson has made headlines for a project filled with Mizzou spirit but fraught with setbacks — The Tiger Spot. More than three years after its original dedication, the brainchild of a man with pride in his alma mater can finally be seen again outside Ellis Library at MU.

Jackson, of Columbia, originally designed the piece in watercolor, his usual medium. But then he decided he wanted to do something different that would represent what MU had to offer.

“I wanted to do something that was large-scale and that the public could see … and I spent a lot of time on Lowry Mall,” he said.

About the work: Jackson enlisted the help of many volunteers, some from his own art classes. He started by going to Italy to have thousands of pieces of glass made for the mosaic, which has a diameter of 30 feet.

“Italian mosaic glass is the best in the world, and the University of Missouri deserves the best,” he said.

Dedicated in 2001, the piece has sustained 30 acts of vandalism, including stolen supplies and motorcycle and hammer damage to the mosaic. Despite the setbacks, Jackson said he was working with committed volunteers who would stop at nothing to see the project in its finished form. Jackson is particularly grateful to Tom Edwards, a local painter who was instrumental in making sure The Tiger Spot was completed and is also working to keep it protected. The university has even installed security cameras.

Helping out with the project was also an assignment for the students of Jackson’s mosaic art class.

“I think they all got A’s,” Jackson said.

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