M-DOT Looking For Bridge Artists

Once the cranes and steel workers finish, artists will add a creative touch to the Bay St. Louis bridge. They will compete to design 20 plaques that will become part of the structure.

Kat Fitzpatrick is among the Bay St. Louis artists who plan on submitting a design.

"Bay St. Louis has been an art community. A lot of artists here. And we're also business people, so it's wonderful to be recognized and included in on things as important as the bridge," she said.

Fitzpatrick created a pen and ink drawing after the hurricane. It's called "Hurricane Katrina: A Tragedy In Five Acts."

"I did what I could with what I had. I was given paper," she explained, pointing to the detail of the framed work.

Katrina could not drown her creative spirit, even though some of her art went underwater.

"Isn't that amazing?" she said, pointing at a storm salvaged piece of artwork, "I think we have one little ding right here."

Fitzpatrick is excited by the significance of the bridge project.

"I would love to see a reflection of all the many diverse talents and styles that we have here. Because I think that's one of the things we do the best, is celebrate that," she said.

Ruth Thompson keeps a directory of artists for the Hancock County Chamber. She's helping organize the M-DOT artwork competition.

"Our quality of life here is really strong because of the art that's here. We have over 200 artists that I know of that live right here in Hancock County," she said.

This effort by M-DOT is more than an artistic endeavor. It's also a recycling project. The finished plaques will be produced from some eight thousand pounds of brass bearing plates which were recovered after Katrina's destruction of the Bay St. Louis and Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridges.

M-DOT should have no shortage of artists who desire to be part of the project.

"I mean, we've got some really talented people here," says Thompson.

Artists who'd like to submit a design can pick up an application at the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.

M-DOT will also stage a similar competition for the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge.

There's more information on the GO-MDOT web site.