Miller making progress on latest sculpture

Marlin Miller, the award-winning Fort Walton Beach, Fla. wood sculptor who has turned Beach Boulevard medians in Biloxi into a canvas of sorts, says that the initial phase of his final carving in Biloxi went well over the weekend.

“Some minor equipment issues, cold and a little rain,” Miller said, “but overall very successful.”

Miller’s final carving – he has done 15 of the 20 sculptures on the Biloxi beachfront – is in the center median of Beach Boulevard south of the Biloxi cemetery. He had originally planned a family of humpback whales, but after carving an initial whale tail some weeks ago decided to add osprey to the sculpture.

Miller is expected to complete the sculpture during a visit in the next few weeks.

Meantime, the city is creating a short documentary about Biloxi’s Katrina sculpture project. The three- to four-minute film will be featured in a theater in the new Visitors Center planned for north of the Biloxi Lighthouse. Construction of the center is scheduled to begin later this year.

See the latest images of a work in progress

To see images of Marlin Miller’s latest effort, as photographed by Mike Kommersmith of Biloxi, click here.

The latest addition to the city web site is a Flash production showing all of the Katrina sculptures in Biloxi. To see the five-minute presentation, click here.

Background on the sculpture project

Biloxi’s Katrina sculpture project
began in January 2007 when Mayor A.J. Holloway commissioned “chainsaw artist” Dayton Scoggins to sculpt marine-related figures from the standing dead trees left in Hurricane Katrina’s wake.

A month earlier, in December 2006, Holloway approached Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown and Harrison County Parkway Commission Director Bobby Weaver about the project. Gulfport Public Works Director Kris Riemann, who had artist Scoggins sculpt a tree in Gulfport, originally suggested the idea to Biloxi.

Scoggins, a Sandersville, Miss. resident, had successfully represented the United States in international woodcarving competitions and had won numerous awards in competitions throughout the country.

Scoggins made two sculpting visits to Biloxi, in March and May 2007.

His five sculptures inspired Miller, a frequent visitor to Biloxi who viewed his work as a chance to repay local residents who helped him recover from Hurricane Ivan.

Miller’s sulptures travel to more than 20 large juried shows across the country each year, including the annual Peter Anderson festival in Ocean Springs.

“You’d be amazed at how many people are aware of these sculptures the city has done,” Miller said when he first approached the city to volunteer his efforts. “A lot of people ask me if I did the sculptures in Biloxi, and I have to say no. Now I can say yes, and years from now, my son will be able to take his children to Biloxi and say, ‘Look what your grandfather created.’”