Monday, July 18, 2011

Once in a Millenium Moon

This is my final post featuring pictures and stories about a recent trip my husband and I made to Shreveport, Louisiana. Here are the links to the other posts in the series, if you would like to read them:

Shreveport Lagniappe
The Strand Theatre: A Shreveport Treasure
Shreveport's Architectural Treasures
Home of "The Louisiana Hayride"

Today's post features one of Shreveport's most beautiful and unique landmarks — the "Mega Mural" which is painted on two sides of the AT&T building downtown.

The mural, which is called Once in a Millennium Moon, is the largest publicly-funded mural in the nation, and a true community project. It was produced by a team of professional artists and 2,600 community painters under the guidance of muralist Meg Saligman. Ms. Saligman, a nationally and internationally recognized mural artist, perfected a "paint by number" grid that is applied to sheets of plastic cloth. Once painted, the cloth is "floated in acrylic" on the wall, much like wallpaper installation.

During the first two months of the Millennium Year, Ms. Saligman and the staff of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council met with more than 75 organizations, interviewed hundreds of individuals about their ideas and heritage, photographed thousands of people for the mural and read hundreds of books written about the Shreveport area.

Paint parties were held all over Shreveport, with festival sites, parks, club meetings, art galleries, bank lobbies, and schools serving as sites for painting sessions. The public commitment to work on the mural was incredible, with more than 40 percent of the total mural being painted by the community.

The result of their hard work is breathtaking ... in both its scope and its beauty. Filled with images large and small, it is a monument to the people of Shreveport, and to the city’s rich heritage.

The 19 people depicted in the mural are from three months to 80 years of age. The models were selected randomly from a cast of thousands, and reflect "diversity in ethnicity, religion, gender, age, and neighborhood."

Each of the 40 objects shown in the mural is an heirloom that has meaning to a family or person in the Shreveport/Bossier community.

The young woman on the South wall is holding a glowing flame in an orb, which "symbolizes Shreveport's hopes and dreams for the future." Her billowing skirts represent "wind."

A sign displayed in front of the building shows a "paint by number" drawing, which is keyed to each person and element in the mural, along with a brief explanation. I thought it might be fun to see if you can "Find the Hidden Objects" in the painting. I have included closeup images of different sections of the mural, and you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like to see the amazing details. [Note: The objects are not necessarily found in the pictures above or below them.]

My favorite object is the Cast Iron Skillet. It has been passed down through three generations, and each new recipient received an accompanying card, which read: "This skillet is for making cornbread, and for keeping your man in line."

Ceramic Cup, the only surviving item from an explosion in a family's home, passed down for many generations.

A Torah, representing adolescence.

Architectural Element, from the Municipal Auditorium, outstanding example of Art Deco architecture in downtown Shreveport.

Water, symbolizing the flow of the Red River after the break of the Great Log Jam by Captain Henry Miller Shreve.


Fork, used as dinnerware on the Grey Eagle Steamship that once traveled along the Red River carrying mail and passengers.

Christening Cap, represents Birth

Wedding Veil, represents Marriage (worn by three generations of brides, since 1927).

Lily Pad, from Caddo Lake, site of the first oil and gas exploration in the region.

Cross Section of a Tree, represents the "passage of time."

Cello, last handmade instrument by Collin Mexin in Paris, France in 1907.

Cornucopia of northwest Louisiana produce, including strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and dewberries.

Lion's Head, from the Wray Ford-Dickson Building in downtown Shreveport.

War Tags, from an unknown veteran, representing Death.

Water-bearing Vessel, represents memories, ancestors, and deceased loved ones, being poured into the central vessel as a symbol of Rebirth

Redbud Tree

Shreveport Rose, the official city flower.

Kalimba African Finger Harp

Stained Glass Window from First United Methodist Church in downtown Shreveport.

The Moon, represented in all phases in the mural, symbolizing the ever-changing cycles of Shreveport in the past millennium.

Magnolia Blossom, Louisiana's State Flower.

If you are ever in the Shreveport area, or travel I-20 through Shreveport, I hope you will take the time to see the mural up close. It is truly a work of art and pictures can't do it justice. It is much more than a Mega Mural — it is "a Mega Message about the city of Shreveport, its history, people, treasures, and love of art."

3 comments:

Richard Cottrell said...

This is amazing. I sure would love to see it in person. I stold your post idea and did one today on Queen Ann's lace. Be sure and drop by. Richard at My Old Historic House

Deb said...

wow that is awesome....great photos..

LaToya Jackson said...

I went to Louisiana for my birthday on the 10th and made a wrong turn and I seen the painting on the building. I had to stop and take pictures. I am writing about this piece for my art class. Its very awesome