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Public Art

Reflecting on a River

By Catharine Magel
Category: Mural


Catharine Magel works mainly in ceramic tile, mosaic, glass, carved brick and fiberglass. In designing and fabricating her work, Magel attests to becoming part of a movement of people participating in social change and revitalization of a place.Reflecting on a River began with the goal of reconnecting community to the natural environment and rebuilding an identity of St. Louis as a river city. A 240 foot-long permanent public art installation, Reflecting on a River graces the downtown St. Louis flood wall with its celebration of the rich natural history of the Mississippi River. Through brilliant color, light-altering textures and sheer size, the sculptured ceramic mural interprets diverse flora and fauna, from microscopic life and native fish to land species of earth, sky, day, and night. Insects, fossils, and migrating birds and butterflies appear as colorful abstractions as well as nature studies.

The mural was commissioned by the partner Organizations of the Confluence Greenway Project, a conservation, heritage, and recreation corridor being developed in the heart of the Bi-state metropolitan area. The mural welcomes visitors to the southern portion of the Greenway, at the downtown entrance to the St. Louis Riverfront Trail. As it parallels the Mississippi River, the mural rolls across the floodwall in “waves” ranging from five to seven feet in height. Individual tiles weigh from three to fourteen pounds. More than 17,000 pounds of clay were used in the mural.

Dimensions: 5-7′ x 240′
Year completed: 2004
Material: Ceramic
Owner: City of St. Louis

About the artist:

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