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June 2, 2021

Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA) is pleased to unveil its next large-scale project. Titled “Welcome to Midtown,” this colorful mural is the first of four to be added to Hattiesburg’s Midtown district. 

“We are thrilled to partner with the Midtown Merchants Association on expanding Hattiesburg’s public art offerings. Partnerships such as these strengthen our placemaking efforts and enhance our city’s curb appeal,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said. “As we set our sights on truly becoming a premier destination in the Gulf South, these public art projects propel us closer to that goal.”

The 15’ x 120’ vibrant mural is located on the east side of the Midtown Market building, adjacent to S. 37th Avenue and is a collaboration between HAPA and the Midtown Merchants Association. 

“Murals continue to enhance our city’s quality of life while also feeling the stories of our neighborhoods through local art,” Mayor Toby Barker said. “I appreciate the Midtown Merchants Association stepping forward and taking an active role in enhancing their corner of our community through projects like this.”

To further grow Hattiesburg’s artistic landscape, HAPA has partnered with businesses and artists throughout Hattiesburg to add creative, lively pieces to Hattiesburg’s alleyways and corridors. River Prince, of Prince Sign Co., was selected to design “Welcome to Midtown” following a competitive Call for Artists process. 

“Midtown Hattiesburg is such a special place to me, and being a part of this project, makes me extremely proud. Five years ago, I lived a block from this wall, which is where I decided to pursue a career in sign painting and lettering. It’s where I decided to stay in Mississippi and go all in on my passion,” Prince said. “This wall is the representation, for me at least, of how anything is possible and how great of a place Hattiesburg, Mississippi is and is becoming.”

“Welcome to Midtown” joins more than 40 permanent sculptures and murals on the Hattiesburg Public Art Trail and is the first large-scale mural commission in the Midtown district. 

“One of the first items on the agenda of the Projects Committee, after we formed the Midtown Merchants Association, was to implement a murals project. We appreciate Dr. Batson and Hattiesburg Clinic for giving the seed money to get that started. We appreciate Midtown Market making that wall available and River Prince for the beautiful job he did painting it.” Robert St. John, founding member of Midtown Merchants Association and owner of New South Restaurant Group, said.  

Work on the series will continue over the next several months. For a map of all public art stops in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or For more information on supporting HAPA’s project visit the website. 

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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. In the past six years, HAPA 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. HAPA projects are supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.