HAPA AND LAUGHS 4 LIFE MURAL UNVEILED IN DOWNTOWN HATTIESBURGSeptember 10, 2020
HATTIESBURG, MS – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is pleased to announce its newest mural project, which expands Hattiesburg’s public art collection. In collaboration with the non profit group Laughs 4 Life and its founder Kent Oliver, the new piece is titled “Hub City, Smile”. The design is the organization’s sixth new mural to be completed this year, with additional projects planned for fall 2020.
Designed by River Prince with Prince Sign Company, the project was hand-painted with a sculpted component, taking two weeks to complete. This is Hattiesburg’s first public art piece designed to be an interactive experience, with a standalone larger-than-life smile providing a great photo opportunity for those visiting the work. “Hub City, Smile” features an eye catching, circular design with inspiring quote by Mother Teresa.
“Community partnerships have provided HAPA with a great avenue to increase local public art this year,” Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said. “By working with Laughs 4 Life on this mural, we continue to elevate Hattiesburg’s outdoor spaces with uplifting messages and creative designs through public art for everyone to enjoy. Working on this project with River, Kent, and property owner Harry Goff generated positive vibes and great energy.”
Laughs 4 Life is a non-profit group with the mission of generating smiles and laughter throughout the Hub City. Established in 2016 in response to founder Oliver’s personal cancer battle, Laughs 4 Life has contributed nearly $600,000 to organizations that improve the future outlook for those facing cancer and other health conditions both locally and statewide. Ultimately, Laughs 4 Life intends to bring more smiles to the Hattiesburg community through its efforts, including this gift of public art.
“Laughs 4 Life felt the presence of a physical smile within the overall mural design was an important component,” Oliver said. “We wanted to create a destination for people to proudly showcase their happiness, and we hope the sharing of this joy through pictures across social
media or other platforms will allow the community to embrace the role of spreading happiness throughout the region.”
Located near The Lucky Rabbit, Bottling Company, and Southern Prohibition Brewery, “Hub City, Smile” is expected to further enhance this block of Mobile Street and Downtown Hattiesburg into a welcoming, artistic destination. Through this design and others, HAPA will continue to beautify spaces while inspiring community engagement and dialogue about the benefits of public art.
For a map of public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or hattiesburgpublicart.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. 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. Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is made possible through the support of local organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of public art.