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July 10, 2024

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (July 9, 2024) Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality program is partnering with the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art and Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation summer camp youth to complete a mural this week at the Lillie Burney Learning Academy. The hands-on paint project is part of activities and service opportunities during Miss Hospitality Gives Back Day.

Titled “Create Kindness,” the original artwork is the first community-painted mural for HAPA and Hattiesburg’s 53rd large-scale mural. The program’s 42 contestants joined reigning Mississippi Miss Hospitality Abbey Grace Pittman and dozens of summer camp youth to paint their sections of the mural.

“We are celebrating 75 years of hospitality and service this year, and giving back to our communities through acts of kindness is a significant part of our program’s history,” said Pittman. “Today’s painting project was special, and we are all thankful to be part of leaving a lasting impression of goodwill and kindness to others through this beautiful mural in Hattiesburg.”

Local artist Kym Garraway was selected as the muralist for the original design, transforming an outdoor wall into a colorful and fun piece that shared a positive message. The location is also significant to Garraway, who attended school there while growing up in Hattiesburg.

“I was thrilled to be the artist for this special project, and it has been heartwarming to see children and young adults work together to help create something that will continue to spread joy to others,” said Garraway. “We all benefit from acts of service and working together, and this mural is certainly a testament to the importance of building community together.”

HAPA and the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition are both programs of VisitHATTIESBURG.

“We continue to find ways to bring people together for good causes as we build community and grow our public art portfolio in Hattiesburg. This year is a banner year celebrating 75 years of Mississippi Miss Hospitality, and we couldn’t be happier to see the talents of our future leaders come together to create this impressive piece for all to enjoy,” said Marlo Dorsey, CEO of VisitHATTIESBURG.


A program of VisitHATTIESBURG, HAPA began in 2014 through the leadership of community members and generous donors passionate about publicly sharing art and making it accessible to all. HAPA continues to purchase and place art throughout the city in parks, neighborhoods, public buildings, and businesses while also raising awareness for works of art already in the area. The organization is partially funded by VisitHATTIESBURG, Mississippi Arts Commission grants, the City of Hattiesburg, and other local organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of public art.