Covered since 2007, the mosaic hiding underneath the circular tarp on Lowry Mall in front of Ellis Library was removed last month following a settlement reached between Paul Jackson, the artist of the mosaic, and MU officials, according to a news release from the MU News Bureau.
The mosaic was originally placed on Oct. 12, 2001, by the efforts of more than 1000 children, volunteers and MU students, according to Jackson’s website.
“We thrill at destruction and we yawn at creation, but today creation prevails," Jackson said on his website to the audience.
Now, nearly 11 years later, it seems destruction has prevailed; due to deterioration of the mosaic and failed attempts to maintain or restore it back to its original condition, Tiger Spot’s only remnants are the concrete fragments covering its 30-foot diameter.
The cost of removing the mosaic has not yet been documented, director of development communications Catey Terry said.
Repairs were made over the years but nothing would sustain the mosaic over a period of time, MU News Bureau director Mary Jo Banken said. The damages were probably due to the weather, but it was difficult to specifically determine what caused the damage, she also said.
“A dispute rose between Jackson and the university over the condition of the mosaic and the right to remove it,” she said. “Unfortunately that did result in litigation, but we were able to just recently reach an agreement with Jackson.”
That agreement includes a $125,000 payment from MU to Jackson to dismiss litigation, resolve all claims, relinquish Jackson’s rights to the mosaic and give MU the right to permanently remove the mosaic, Banken said.
“As far as what will be placed in the area on a temporary basis, it will remain in its current state until further evaluation by the committee,” she said. “The tarp will remain out there until the university works on what it will replace it with.”
The MU Arts and Artifacts Committee, composed of representatives from MU Libraries and the Missouri Student Association, will meet this summer to determine the future of the spot.
Numerous attempts to sustain Tiger Spot have been made in the past. MU has spent $112,508.63 in the last 11 years for maintenance and upkeep of the mosaic, not including the cost of the installation or the removal of the mosaic, Terry said.
In 2006, MU considered moving the mosaic to a spot where it could be maintained better indoors, but after looking into how it would be done, the task was deemed impossible.
“It was comprised of all these minute tiles, and on ground it was beautiful,, but there was just no way to move it all in one piece,” she said.
An $11,000 water drainage system was also placed under Lowry Mall a year after the mosaic’s unveiling to avoid water damage, according to a previous Manetaer article.
The donor bricks, which served as an outside border to the mosaic, have been removed and will be stored safely, Banken said. MU officials will contact those donors and discuss options for recognizing their support, the news release stated.
No donor funds were used in the settlement of the lawsuit with Jackson, Banken said.
Jackson could not be reached for comment.