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New Orleans bead artist heads to Natchitoches to break a record

beadtownNew Orleans artist Stephan Wanger will be in Natchitoches, La., next week in hopes of setting a world record with his latest Mardi Gras bead masterpiece. On Wednesday, December 4, official Guinness World Records adjudicator Amanda Mochan will rule “Une Rue Principale en Louisiane" as the "largest mural made of beads." A public unveiling ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at Orville Hanchey Gallery in Natchitoches.

“Une Rue Principale en Louisiane" (A Main Street in Louisiana) is a panoramic view of Natchitoches' Cane River Lake and historic Front Street. The mosaic incorporates Natchitoches' European flavor through the city’s history, architecture, and heritage. Natchitoches, established in 1714, will commemorate its 300th anniversary in 2014, making it the oldest permanent settlement in the entire Louisiana Purchase.

Wanger's beaded mosaic of Natchitoches is 8 feet in height  by 48 feet wide. It is a mural sketched and painted on plywood, then covered with recycled Mardi Gras beads. Wanger and volunteers sorted, cut and glued more than 2 million Mardi Gras beads to complete the piece.

Wanger is a German-born artist who moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and began using discarded Mardi Gras beads to create iconic images of Louisiana. Read Renee Peck's interview of the artist for NolaVie here.

Sint Lucas of Eindhoven, Netherlands, is the current record holder for building the world's largest beaded mosaic. His piece is measured to be 18 feet wide by 10 feet high. It was registered by Guinness World Records on January 25, 2013.

Wanger has been traveling the state of Louisiana showcasing Bead Town, consisting of more tan 60 beaded murals. Find more of his work at www.GaleriaAlegria.com.

Here's a look at Wanger's work on the Natchitoches Legacy Art Project in progress: