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March 4, 2020

Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is working on beautifying Hattiesburg with two new murals set in significant spots.

One will welcome visitors as they enter the Avenues and the other will decorate downtown Hattiesburg.

The murals are under construction but should be finished by early this month.

“Public art is a community asset, and these murals are a huge part of that,” Mayor Toby Barker said in a statement. “They amplify engagement and pride while also harnessing the talent – young and seasoned – that abounds in our city.”

In the Avenues, the alliance worked with T-Bones Records & Café and Prince Sign Company to create a mural titled “Hattiesburg, the Birthplace of Rock ‘N’ Roll” on the building’s façade.

The artwork is a nod to rock ‘n’ roll’s beginnings in Hattiesburg — where the first riffs of the genre were recorded in July 1936 — nearly two decades before they reached mainstream popularity.

The recording by The Mississippi Jook Band is commemorated by an official Mississippi Blues Trail Marker.

The downtown mural is an inspirational piece located across from the Hattiesburg Public Library.

Titled “Wonderful Day” — the mural highlights a quote by author Maya Angelou. The alliance is waiting to reveal the quote until the mural’s completion.

The project includes the work of local high school students and is a first of its kind in the community.

Students from art programs at Hattiesburg High SchoolSacred Heart Catholic High School and Presbyterian Christian High School were selected to collaborate on the mural.

The students spent several weeks painting and learning tools of the trade. For their efforts, the alliance will make a donation to each school’s art program at the completion of the project.

Ricardo Moody, an art instructor at Presbyterian Christian School and a professional artist, designed the downtown mural and is overseeing student participation.

“The creative nature of Hattiesburg is rooted in the arts, and murals have the power to ignite the wonder of imagination,” he said in a news release. “We chose bright and vibrant colors to catch the attention of passersby and know the mural will be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

The alliance is a program of VisitHATTIESBURG — founded in 2014 — through the leadership of community members and generous donors passionate about publicly sharing art and making it accessible to all.

“Hattiesburg is a melting pot of creativity and home to thriving art communities at our high schools, universities, and numerous other creative groups,” said Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG, in a statement. “We join in the city’s enthusiasm to celebrate and grow our public art offerings.”

In the past five years, the alliance has purchased and placed art throughout the city – in parks, neighborhoods, public buildings, and businesses – while also raising awareness for works of art already in the area.

Click here to see the original Hattiesburg American article.