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New Three-Piece Sculpture Unveiled in Hattiesburg

March 6, 2023

HATTIESBURG, MS (March 4, 2023) – Hattiesburg gained its first permanent sculpture in more than three years on Saturday. Located in the North Main neighborhood of downtown, the three-piece, steel sculpture is the first large-scale public art addition to this district, which is currently undergoing extensive revitalization. Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA) joined partners Chad and Catherine Edmonson for the unveiling of “Garden Boats.”

Designed by Hattiesburg artist Jennifer Torres, the colorful, airy design is intended to encourage residents and visitors to reflect on their own experiences and mindful state when viewing the art. “Garden Boats” is elevated to mimic the unity of earth, water, and sky.

“Greenery springing up at the water’s edge has deep roots; native grasses protect shorelines against erosion during even the worst storms,” Torres said. “Garden Boats addresses humble plants and their crucial role in keeping a neighborhood buoyant. Hattiesburg excels at staying above water.”

Torres is a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi, where she focuses on sculpture, ceramics, and metals. Here, she encourages students to consider artmaking as a public function.

The sculpture’s location in the North Main neighborhood continues placemaking efforts by HAPA, the Edmonsons, and stakeholders in the community. The district’s positive developments over the last two years include refurbished residential offerings, new businesses, and, most recently, the addition of a restaurant alongside the Longleaf Trace spur at Main and Fourth Streets. Project partners believe art is another key ingredient in further reinvigorating the neighborhood.

“In an increasingly mobile world, each of us makes the conscious decision where to live and how to give back to the community,” Catherine Edmonson said. “Our family works to support revitalization and believes art has an integral role in placemaking. It is a life force, giving hope and inspiration to many.”

“Garden Boats” is the first addition to the HBURG Public Art Trail in 2023, bringing the total number of sculptures on the trail to 17.

“As our city continues to grow its public art footprint, it’s important for us to provide residents and visitors with a diverse range of art styles and mediums,” Kristen Brock, HAPA program director, said. “Working with committed partners allows us to beautify neighborhoods throughout the city, while supporting talent found right in our own backyard.”

The HBURG Public Art Trail, a joint program of HAPA and VisitHATTIESBURG, features more than 50 murals and sculptures. To learn more about HAPA or for a map of public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or