The creator of the Tiger Spot mosaic in Lowry Mall said Friday he hates that the 30-foot piece of public art has become maligned and considered an eyesore on MU campus.
Paul Jackson’s comment followed MU’s announcement Thursday that the mosaic, which was paid for by private donors, will be replaced because of its need for continual and costly repair.
“I want to be supportive of any effort to beautify our community, even if it means going back to the drawing board,” Jackson wrote in a statement released on Friday.
Mary Jo Banken, a spokesperson for MU, said Jackson’s plans echo the university’s concerns about the mosaic, which was unveiled in October 2001.
“Staff members at campus facilities have sketched five or six different designs,” Banken said.
Banken said a committee, consisting of campus faculty, university administrators and student representatives, has been organized to determine what will replace Tiger Spot. She declined to name committee members or provide a time line for the project.
Banken added that the committee will continue to work with Jackson.
“We hope to be able to incorporate the original idea,” Banken said.
Less welcoming of news to replace the mosaic is artist Tom Edwards, who has been conducting the restoration work on it for the past four and a half years.
He said canceling repairs, which are 92 percent complete, is “like running a marathon and quitting at the 25th mile.”
Banken said MU has sympathy for Edwards.
“Everyone I talked to commends him for his hours, loyalty and positivity,” she said.
The restoration was supposed to continue through the end of December, but Edwards’ contract was terminated early, Banken said.
“They (MU) just got to the point that they felt they could just not commit any more resources,” Banken said.
The new project will be paid for by an unrestricted donor fund, she said. Banken declined to specify the size of the donor fund or whether there is still money left in the original Tiger Spot fund.