HAPA AND LAUGHS 4 LIFE MURAL COLLABORATION BEGINS IN DOWNTOWN HATTIESBURGSeptember 2, 2020
HATTIESBURG, MS – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA) is pleased to announce its newest mural project, which further grows the public art collection in Downtown Hattiesburg. In collaboration with the non-profit group Laughs 4 Life, the new piece is titled “Hub City, Smile.” The design is the organization’s fifth new mural to be placed this year, with additional projects already in the works as HAPA continues to advance the promotion of arts in the community.
Work on “Hub City, Smile” began the first of September and is expected to be completed in two weeks. Located on Mobile Street near The Lucky Rabbit, Bottling Company, and Southern Prohibition Brewery, the mural features an inspiring message along with a standalone larger than-life smile, creating an interactive experience for those visiting the work. Designed by River Prince with Prince Sign Company, “Hub City, Smile” is expected to further transform this block of Mobile Street and Downtown Hattiesburg into a welcoming, artistic destination.
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.
“Partnerships within the community have allowed HAPA to increase local public art this year more than ever before,” Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said. “By joining with Laughs 4 Life on this mural, we will continue to elevate Hattiesburg’s outdoor space with inviting public art containing meaningful messages that a diverse and vast audience of locals and visitors will enjoy.”
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 Kent 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.”
As work on the new mural continues, updates will be shared on HAPA and Laugh 4 Life’s social media channels. The public will also be invited to share in the official reveal later this month. Through this design and others, HAPA will continue to beautify spaces while inspiring community engagement and dialogue about the benefits of public art.
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Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is made possible through the support of local organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of public art. For more information on the patrons and vision of HAPA, visit hattiesburgpublicart.com.