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Nature's Playground in the traffic circle.
Nature's Playground in the traffic circle.

Nature's Playground, Traffic Circle Art

Field review by the editors.

Gautier, Mississippi

In the aftermath of 2005's Cat 5 Hurricane Katrina, the town of Gautier received $6 million to rebuild its business district. The town adopted the curiously tin-eared slogan, "Nature's Playground," and paid Alabama artist Dean Mosher an unknown amount to build a 45-foot-high sculpture in the traffic circle of Gautier's hoped-for new town center.

Nature's Playground in the traffic circle.

It was unveiled on the first day of Spring 2013: a tower of oversized copper wildlife native to the town -- snapping turtles, herons, alligators -- surrounded by a fountain and topped with an illuminated plexiglass globe covered with more than 5,000 pieces of stained glass. The sculpture is memorable, but the town center idea has failed to catch on, and the nearest neighbors to Nature's Playground are the empty parking lots of an abandoned mall.

Nature's Playground, Traffic Circle Art

3501 N. Dolphin Drive, Gautier, MS
From US-90 turn north at the stoplight (AutoZone) onto N. Dolphin Drive. Drive a quarter-mile. You'll see the sculpture straight ahead, in the traffic circle, at the intersection of N. Dolphin Drive and William Payn Adams Blvd.
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