Extensive damage to the Tiger Spot mosaic is already apparent in this file photo from 2002, just a year after its official unveiling. (Missourian file photo)
Only five years after the Tiger Spot was first unveiled, MU officials said Thursday morning they are replacing the mosaic, located in front of the north entrance of Ellis Library.
Below is the official MU news release announcing the fate of Tiger Spot.
Tiger Spot to be Replaced
COLUMBIA, Mo. –- University of Missouri-Columbia officials, along with artists Paul Jackson and Tom Edwards, have decided to replace Tiger Spot.
Tiger Spot made its debut Oct. 12, 2001, on Lowry Mall on the MU campus. MU alumnus and acclaimed artist Jackson, along with a large number of dedicated volunteers, created Tiger Spot.
"This new venture of displaying an outdoor mosaic on the campus was very exciting for us," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "Because of the commitment of many individuals to Tiger Spot, including Paul Jackson, we have made every effort to maintain the mosaic in the face of constant challenges presented by the deterioration of the artwork, apparently caused primarily by the weather. Unfortunately, several efforts to repair the damage have not survived additional battering from the Missouri weather. Therefore, with thanks to Paul Jackson, Tom Edwards, the volunteers, the donors and our Campus Facilities staff, we will move forward to replace Tiger Spot with another appropriate symbol of Mizzou pride."
During its five-year lifespan, the mosaic has been under constant repair and was often shielded from public eye by a tent or tarp.
So far, private donations totaling $87,000 were used to repair the mosaic. In addition, MU provided $11,096 for a trench drain, which attempted to curtail more damage.
Tiger Spot was designed and constructed by Columbia artist and MU alumnus, Paul Jackson, and volunteers. A year after completion, 10 to 15 percent of the design was damaged and broken and missing pieces became an eyesore. The second year was even worse. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of the mosaic was in ruins. At that point, MU hired artist Tom Edwards to help reconstruct the spoiled icon.
A decision has not yet been made regarding what will replace the Tiger Spot mosaic, said MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken. Campus officials are evaluating various options, and Jackson will be involved in the process, she said.
“They’re in the very initial stages,” Banken said. “A timetable has not been discussed.”