HAPA UNVEILED HATTIESBURG’S 32ND MURAL, “THE HATTIESBIRDS”April 4, 2022
HATTIESBURG, MS (April 4, 2022) – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA), a program of VisitHATTIESBURG, unveiled its second mural in the Midtown Mural Series today. With this public art addition at Campus Book Mart on Hardy St., Hattiesburg continues toward its goal of being the City of 100 Murals, with 32 murals now complete.
The vibrant mural, titled “The Hattiesbirds,” is an original design by national artist Kayla Newnam, who selected the city of Hattiesburg as the location to represent the state of Mississippi in her series of murals planned for all fifty states.
“As a premier city in the Gulf South, we continue to set the bar on displaying the talent that exists in and outside of our community through public art,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “In her trek to paint a mural in every state, Kayla Newnam identifying Hattiesburg for her Mississippi stop is proof that we are on the right trajectory.”
Newnam is a Phoenix-based artist known for her colorful, whimsical murals and paintings. Her three-year project, Out There Murals, is Newnam’s goal of creating a mural in every state with the intention of bringing people together through public art. Mississippi is the sixth state where she’s completed a mural.
“My inspiration for ‘The Hattiesbirds’ started with the city’s rich music history. I decided to create a fictional band of birds, who came together from all flights of life to create music that makes people happy,” said Newnam. “I have been painting these ‘bubble birds’ on a small scale throughout my career, and I am thrilled they are making their large-scale debut in Hattiesburg. It has been a real treat working on this project so close to Southern Miss. I have met a lot of the students on their way to class, and I hope everyone is able to see a little bit of themselves in the mural and that the birds bring smiles to all.”
This mural is a Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art project, partially funded by the Midtown Merchants Association and the Brown Family, Campus Book Mart owners. A valuable partner to HAPA, Moore’s Bike Shop also provided scaffolding for this project.
“The Midtown Merchants Association is thrilled with the newest addition of large-scale public art in the Midtown Mural Series. We are honored that Kayla chose midtown Hattiesburg as the location for her beautiful mural,” said Tom Smith, Chair of Midtown Merchants Association. “A major advocacy effort of our organization is the district’s enhancement through public art, making the partnership with HAPA very rewarding.”
Conveniently located across from The University of Southern Mississippi, near the District at Midtown and Forrest General Hospital, Campus Book Mart was selected as the home for the new mural because of its location in the highly visible and walkable area. The blocks surrounding the building serve hundreds of visitors and locals daily.
HAPA continues to expand public art offerings in Hattiesburg, highlighting the city as Mississippi’s creative hub. Many projects unveiled during the last two years were designed by Hattiesburg and Mississippi natives, celebrating and supporting the diverse groups of creatives who call the area home. “The Hattiesbirds” mural increases the number of large-scale projects on the HBURG Public Art Trail to 47 stops.
“Kayla’s mural gives the perfect nod to Hattiesburg as a diverse, creative musical city. It’s such a fun and inviting backdrop in the center of our city,“ said Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director of VisitHATTIESBURG. “Hattiesburg is emerging as a national public art destination, and we are grateful to HAPA’s many supporters and partners for helping us execute our shared vision for Hattiesburg.”
“The Hattiesbirds” is one of several projects HAPA has in the works, with more than a dozen murals to be added in 2022. For a map of public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or hattiesburgpublicart.com.