HAPA UNVEILS 50th MURAL AT GATEWAY TO DOWNTOWN HATTIESBURGJanuary 24, 2024
HATTIESBURG, MS (Jan. 23, 2024) – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art, along with project partner Shows Dearman & Waits Inc., unveiled its first mural completed in 2024 today. Titled ‘Hattiesburg Horizons’, it can be found along Hardy Street at the gateway to downtown Hattiesburg. This is Hattiesburg’s 50th large-scale mural, marking the halfway point to its goal of becoming the “City of 100 Murals.”
In November 2023, a national call for artists was opened seeking original design concepts that featured ideas, accomplishments, people, and industries historically relevant to Hattiesburg. Following a review of submissions, Pinebelt artist Sumer West’s entry was selected for the space. A William Carey University art student, this is West’s largest public art project.
“My idea for the wall was to travel through time of the history of Hattiesburg,” West said. “It starts with the Choctaw Indians and timber before moving forward to the railroad that made Hattiesburg the Hub and then into present-day buildings and structures.”
‘Hattiesburg Horizons’ stands at 13 feet high and 42 feet wide. It serves as a homage to the city’s infrastructure and architectural elements, acknowledging its heritage. A fitting theme for the city’s 50th mural, the design pays tribute to Hattiesburg’s history while celebrating exciting developments on the horizon.
“As engineers, we don’t get to work in the arts very often. We see this mural as a way to merge the two fields together,” Shows Dearman & Waits Project Engineer Shea McNease said. “It honors Hattiesburg’s past but also the progressive mindset that has always moved the city forward and that will project it into the future.”
Since 2020, Hattiesburg’s public art has grown significantly throughout the city, both in murals and utility boxes. Hattiesburg has been listed as an emerging public arts destination by numerous publications and several art projects are already underway for 2024.
“HAPA has been fortunate to collaborate with local businesses and organizations that play an integral role in the success and growth of public art in Hattiesburg,” VisitHATTIESBURG CEO Marlo Dorsey said. “Our collective mission ensures that each mural project reflects the spirit of the Hattiesburg community, and we eagerly anticipate unveiling many more designs in the year ahead.”
To learn more about HAPA or for a map of existing public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or hburgart.com.
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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. 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.