HAPA UNVEILS ‘SERENITY’ MURAL IN DOWNTOWN HATTIESBURGNovember 3, 2022
HATTIESBURG, MS (Nov. 2, 2022) – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art, along with project partners, is pleased to announce the addition of ‘Serenity’, a large-scale original artwork on Pine Street in Downtown Hattiesburg. A collaboration with the Forrest County Board of Supervisors and Moore’s Bike Shop, the mural highlights the success stories and life enhancements of the 12th Circuit Drug Court.
Designed and painted by local artists Thomas Jackson and Abigail Lenz Allen, the artwork contains nods to the drug court’s mission of offering support and rehabilitation services to individuals with substance abuse and chemical dependency issues. Work on the project began immediately following the court’s 2022 graduation in September.
Judge Robert Helfrich, who presides over the drug court, introduced the idea of a mural adjacent to the court building to Allen. With her art classes already being a part of the program’s course curriculum, students and graduates were invited to participate in completing the project.
“This mural tells the story of the mountain of life. When someone comes into drug court, they are at the bottom of the mountain, where the air is polluted, the water is dirty, and there are lies and deceit. It is not a happy place,” said Helfrich. “Drug court is the start of the climb up the mountain. The beginning steps up the mountain aren’t easy but are taken one day at time. Although the top will not ever be reached, the air gets cleaner and there are meadows and wildflowers filled with honesty, love, and forgiveness.”
James Moore, owner of Moore’s Bike Shop in Hattiesburg, has been a long-time advocate for treatment and support for addiction and chemical dependency. The local business partially funded the mural.
“For far too long, this is a disease that’s been hidden in the shadows and covered with shame and stigma. There’s no better way to bring this out into the public discussion where it belongs than placing it on the side of a building for all to see,” said Moore.
In working closely with project partners, HAPA Program Director Kristen Brock believes the completed piece brings another element to the city’s public art portfolio.
“This newest mural certainly strikes a different tone than many of our existing public art pieces, but it is just as beautiful and valued. ‘Serenity’ shines a light on the peaks and valleys many people face who are struggling with addiction issues,” said Brock. “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in sharing such a compelling message, and we are hopeful it resonates with people that they are not alone.”
Approximately 40 feet high and 22 feet wide, ‘Serenity’ marks Hattiesburg’s 36th mural.
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.