Tattered Tiger

Plagued with damage since its unveiling, the Tiger Spot once again needs repair
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:48 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

After a history of vandalism, remakes, and damage from water and the occasional snowplow, the Tiger Spot on Lowry Mall outside Ellis Library is once again in dire need of care and maintenance. A dozen small and large chunks of the 30-foot-diameter glass tile mosaic have vanished, leaving deep scars in the tiger’s face.

“We are aware of the damage, and we are looking into what steps to take in order to fix it,” MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

Basi said there is no suspicion of vandalism this time around.

“At this point it is hard to pinpoint what has caused the damage, but we have no reports of vandalism,” Basi said.

The Tiger Spot was unveiled Oct. 12, 2001. It sustained more than 30 acts of vandalism since then, including someone pouring white paint and concrete on it, as well as extensive damage from a snowplow during the winter of 2001.

More recently, the mosaic underwent a face-lift after a drainage system was set in place underneath it. The mosaic has been under repair intermittently since its unveiling, and it has been closed off to the public under a striped circus tent for months at a time. The most recent unveiling of the renovated mosaic took place in January.

The mosaic was originally a gift from Columbia artist Paul Jackson, who did the tiling work with a group of art students and other volunteers.

Jackson, who has earned international recognition for his watercolor paintings, said that the Tiger mosaic is a great project and that many locals contributed funding and labor.

“It’s not been treated the nicest by some local folks, though,” Jackson said. “Still, I really think it is worth putting back together.”

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