Bridge mosaic taking shape in Ocean Springs

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A city known for its art appreciation is getting a new artistic landmark. Tuesday workers began installing a colorful tile mosaic onto concrete walls beneath the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge.

Fifty different artists entered a competition to help create the art mosaic beneath the bridge. Four artists were chosen: Chris Stebly, Pat Odom, Ching Walters and Susie Ranager.

Tile artist Elizabeth Veglia was called on to bring it all together.

One worker prepared the artistic panel, while another readied the bridge wall.

"That way, we know exactly were we're going," said Veglia, who was overseeing the final creative construction.

She took the winning work of four other artists and created large mosaic sections. Mounting the large panels takes planning and teamwork.

"You know, it may squish in a little bit more," said Veglia, as she helped position the panel into place on the wall.

"I think it's inspiring to the community. It's something to look at. In this case, it involves a lot of the artists here, so there's the hand of everybody in it. And it just makes it more appealing, I think, because of that," said Veglia.

Along with the mortar mix, installing special anchors will ensure the permanency of the "beneath the bridge" artwork.

"It's absolutely gorgeous. And it's going to be a landmark for the state of Mississippi and for the City of Ocean Springs. And it really gives an accent to our art community here in Ocean Springs," said Ward 1 alderman John Gill.

The creative mosaic is another piece of the city's plans to extend a pedestrian pathway from the bridge to the Ocean Springs harbor.

It's also no coincidence this portion of bridge mosaic will be ready for this weekend's popular Peter Anderson Arts festival.

"We have the heart for art in Ocean Springs. We're an historic, arts community. I think it's very fitting. And these panels depict the natural coast beauty. We hope everyone on the gulf coast will come and enjoy," said a smiling Mayor Connie Moran.

Ocean Springs will host one of the largest art shows in the Southeast this weekend. The annual Peter Anderson art festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the community.