Tiger Spot still in disrepair

The spot has more wear and tear, despite being covered for two years.

Despite more than two years covered by a tarp, the 700-square-foot mosaic Tiger Spot located outside Ellis Library continues to fall into further disrepair without a solution in sight.

MSA Senate Speaker Amanda Shelton said any work on Tiger Spot has been put on hold due to complicated artists' copyright issues that have plagued the mosaic piece since discussions of moving or repairing the piece began.

"After speaking with (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy) Scroggs and other individuals inside and outside MSA, it came to my attention that there are somewhat complex legal issues that are causing problems with fixing or removing the mosaic, because it was an artwork created by someone and is governed by intellectual property laws," Shelton said in an e-mail. "As a result, we have decided to put this project on hold to address more time-sensitive issues for students, but we will remain cognizant of the situation."

Constructed by artist Paul Jackson, Tiger Spot was originally made up of 300,000 1.5-by-1 centimeter Italian glass tiles. The mosaic piece was unveiled during Homecoming Week 2001, and within a year the piece began to break apart due to foot traffic, weather, vandalism and, as some argued, poor construction.

Repairs to 10 parts of the mosaic piece were first made in October 2002 and $11,000 was spent on a new drainage system beneath Lowry Mall to prevent further water damage in 2005. In August 2007, Tiger Spot was covered by a tarp purchased by Student and Auxiliary Services and cost between $1,500 and $2,000, said MU Libraries spokeswoman Shannon Carey in a previous Maneater report.

Scroggs said she has attended chancellor's staff meetings on the issue but has not been particularly active in the issue of Tiger Spot. Scroggs said artists' copyright laws have been one of the obstacles to repairing or moving Tiger Spot.

"We had some kind of agreement with the artist, and if we're not going to keep it there then the artist may be able to take legal action against the university," Scroggs said.

There has also been confusion as to who is directly responsible for resolving the issue. MU Libraries Director Jim Cogswell said the libraries were not extensively involved in Tiger Spot decisions.

"Even though the Tiger Spot is directly outside the north door of Ellis Library, it is not part of the library's domain," Cogswell said. "We have no decision to be made by the library affecting that particular part of the campus."

Scroggs speculates financial responsibility for the repairs might be an issue. She said if the university were willing to pay for the restoration costs, maybe Jackson would repair the mosaic.

Cogswell, like many members of the campus community, remains uninformed about the state of Tiger Spot.

"All I know is that for less than a year it was a viable and quite lovely piece of artwork and for whatever reasons, it started to disintegrate," Cogswell said. "Everyone's been pointing fingers at one another on who's to blame for that. Instead what we need to do is get some sort of resolution and it really has to be agreed upon by all the parties, and that is the problem."

Both Cogswell and Scroggs said Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Jackie Jones is in charge of campus facilities and would know more about the status of Tiger Spot. Jones could not be reached for comment.

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