Missing tiles. Uneven seams. Crumbling concrete.
Eight months after its dedication during MU Homecoming, the Tiger Spot is still a work in progress. Local artist Paul Jackson, who designed the project, admitted that the 30-foot mosaic of a tiger’s head on Lowry Mall looks a little rough right now.
The damage to the Tiger Spot is from several sources. Improper drainage near the Tiger Spot has allowed water to erode some of the seams and concrete under the mosaic, said Scott Miller, marketing director for Illumia, Jackson’s studio.
Additional damage came when someone vandalized the mosaic, smashing a section of tiles, said Nancy Moen, communications director for the college of Arts and Science.
However, Miller said he didn’t think a vandalism report had been filled, and Lt. Brian Weimer of the MU Police Department said he had not heard of any vandalism to the Tiger Spot.
Jackson said much of the damage has come after he and his crew started several modifications to the mosaic this week.
“It weathered pretty well during the winter and summer,” he said. “It looked worse after we started doing work on it, chipping out tiles and pouring new concrete under it.”
Jackson said the work on the project should be done in two weeks and the Tiger Spot will have a new coat of sealant to give it a glossy finish. There will also be three rows of bricks around the mosaic with the names of donors on them, Jackson said.
The money from those donors will be used to make an endowment for the continual upkeep of the Tiger Spot. “When you see those bricks, that’s when you will know we’re done,” he said.
The materials being used for repairs are left over from the original donation, and since Jackson and his crew donate their time, there is no additional cost for the current project.
Phil Shocklee, associate director of Campus Facilities, said his department has been asked to put together an estimate on the cost of installing a drain in between the Tiger Spot and the steps of Ellis Library. The drain would divert the water that caused damage to the Tiger Spot.
Shocklee said he didn’t know if the upkeep fund would be used to install the drain or if university funds would be used. If the project is approved, the funding source would have to be identified, Shocklee said.