JOPLIN, Mo. – Mother Nature takes its toll on a mural dedicated to Joplin’s recovery following the 2011 tornado. The recent rains, snow and subfreezing temperatures caused two tiles of the Butterfly Mural in Mercy Park to come loose and break.
Joplin Parks and Recreation workers found the damage and removed several other pieces of the tile mural to protect them. Paul Whitehill of Whitehill Enterprises, who oversaw the project’s design and installation, said weather played a role in the damage.
“Last month’s freezing and thawing allowed moisture to seep in behind the tiles and weakened the adhesive that holds them to the wall,” said Whitehill. “All the tiles of the Butterfly Mural will be removed, each assessed, the wall will again be treated with a moisture barrier, then restored. The two broken tiles will need to be manufactured.”
A different cap or moisture deflector is being considered for the top of the wall which also holds the Together We Create mural on the opposite side. Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau director Patrick Tuttle hopes the mural repaired in time for the 10th anniversary of the Joplin tornado.
“We are hoping the restoration can be accomplished in time for this year’s May 22, 10-year remembrance,” said Tuttle. “The mural has served as part of the community’s healing process.”
The Butter Fly Mural was commissioned and installed to mark 5th anniversary of the May 22 tornado in 2016. It’s located on the site where St. John’s Hospital once stood, before it was destroyed by the storm. That land was turned into a public space known today as Mercy Park. According to the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, “The butterfly mural represents the transformation of our city and the hope for a beautiful future.”