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World's Largest Mosaic Made out of Over 1 Million Recycled Mardi Gras Beads
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World's Largest Mosaic Made out of Over 1 Million Recycled Mardi Gras Beads

German native Stephan Wanger has completed the World’s largest mosaic ever made out of beads. The size of the work is 8 feet tall by 30 feet wide and contains over a million recycled Mardi Gras beads. The artwork is called “Sanctuary of Alegria – Home of Happiness and showcases the skyline of New Orleans.”

14 months ago, Stephan began the tedious process of assembling over a million single-cut beads in order to create awareness for thousands of tons of annually discarded Mardi Gras beads that are destined to become landfill this Mardi Gras season. The colorful mosaic “Sanctuary of Alegria” is now on display at his Galeria Alegria on 1924 Magazine St., in New Orleans Wed-Sun., until March 9, 2012. Then “Sanctuary of Alegria” will be auctioned off by the Make It Right Foundation to raise funds for the lower ninth ward, a neighborhood in New Orleans that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

About 97% of all the beads that Stephan is using in his artworks, are recycled and many of them spray-painted. He continues to create huge mosaics that will help promote his adopted hometown and the state of Louisiana.

“Sanctuary of Alegria” showcases a view across the mighty Mississippi River towards downtown New Orleans, complete with the Natchez steamboat, the Carnival Triumph, the Italian tall ship “Amerigo Vespucci” (America received its name from Amerigo) and the German tall ship “Gorch Fock” because of Stephan’s heritage as he was born in Wilhelmshaven, Germany – a seaport on the North Sea.

“Sanctuary of Alegria” is a very busy river scene to mark the 200th anniversary (1812 – 2012) of Louisiana’s attainment of statehood as the 18th state in the Union and stressing the great importance the Mississippi river has had in Louisiana.

"I have always wanted to create a skyline and I believe this project will be the perfect attempt for competing for a Guinness World Record and do some good," says Stephán Wanger from his gallery located at 1924 Magazine St., in New Orleans. The community helped as well by signing the artwork, as Stephan has beaded out the signatures of over 300 people’s on this gigantic postcard to the world. Two weeks before completion many volunteers helped with filling in the sky and the water.

The technique of cutting beads, using glue instead of hot glue and the process of creating these art works is new and Stephan gladly teaches it to students and in adult classes. It is an art form by the community for the community as many people drop off these Mardi Gras beads so Stephan can continue with his vision to promote New Orleans and the state of Louisiana in order to increase tourism. “The city of New Orleans has given me such a beautiful gift with this idea and I simply wanted to return the favor, that is why I donated the mural. What better way is there to have an artwork possible benefit a community?” asks Wanger.

The record-breaking mosaic is part of the "A Million Greetings from New Orleans” exhibit that Stephán has been working on since 2006. The exhibit will eventually tour Europe to further promote New Orleans and hopefully increase tourism to the city. By signing this gigantic postcard Stephan hopes to create awareness to recycle Mardi Gras beads.

The record that will be broken is:
The largest Bead Mosaic measured 3.74 m (12 ft 3 in) in width by 2.70 m (8 ft 10 in) in height giving an overall area of 10.1 m² (108.7 ft²) and was achieved by the 5th and 6th grade of Scoil Naomh Iosaf Primary School (Irish) in Baltinglass, Co Wickow, Ireland, 24 June 2010.

About Stephán Wanger, Artist
Stephán Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Working in a photo-realistic style, Mr. Wanger re-creates scenes, images, and icons of Louisiana to help bring awareness to the world of the innate beauty and wonder of the state's unique culture and varied communities.


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