HAPA UNVEILS NEWEST MURAL IN EAST 8TH STREET DISTRICTDecember 7, 2020
HATTIESBURG, MS – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA) is pleased to announce the unveiling of its newest mural, “Your Life Matters”, adding to the extensive art collection found throughout the city. Designed by Mississippi artists George Brown and Sarah Ellen Norman, the project is HAPA’s eighth large-scale mural completed this year. Additional projects are currently underway with several more planned for early 2021.
“Your Life Matters” focuses on the impact individuals have on those around them and in their community. Created in collaboration with Ebenezer Baptist Church, the new mural, adjacent to Chain Park, will be seen by tens of thousands annually. Its message was designed to motivate and encourage Hattiesburg’s youth and the many others who visit the recreational area.
“This mural seeks to inspire every individual to examine themselves, discover their worth, and make positive, powerful contributions to their communities,” Carlos Wilson, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said.
In October 2020, an open Call for Artists resulted in numerous submissions from artists across the nation. Design concepts were evaluated on artistic merit, creativity, technical knowledge, and interpretation of the theme. A panel of art professionals and community partners selected the concept presented by George Brown, a Southern Miss graduate and former public-school art teacher. He was assisted by Sarah Ellen Norman, a Biloxi native who studied at Southern Miss and American University in Washington, D.C.
“When creating this design, I wanted to represent acts that enrich the community,” Brown said. “It was important for these depictions to be placed in a familiar setting indicative of the landscape of Hattiesburg, allowing the viewer to place themselves in the picture.”
HAPA collaborates with the private and public sector, including the City of Hattiesburg, to expand public art offerings, highlighting Hattiesburg as Mississippi’s creative hub. “Your Life Matters” faces the newly restored East 8th Street basketball and tennis courts, one of the City’s original 17 projects proposed under the 1-cent restaurant and hotel tax passed in 2019.
“I am excited to see the continued growth in Hattiesburg’s public art offerings in neighborhoods across the city,” Mayor Toby Barker said. “’Your Life Matters’ is a result of the collaborative efforts between Pastor Carlos Wilson at Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art. I know that it will serve to encourage and inspire all who see it.”
This new mural increases the number of public murals found in Hattiesburg to 22. HAPA, a program of VisitHATTIESBURG, will continue to spread the message that the Hub City is a safely and artfully open community for visitors to explore.
“All of our murals are special, but I am especially pleased that this new project celebrates the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said. “Focusing on Hattiesburg’s vibrant art scene, we can ensure HBURG remains a top art destination for guests visiting Mississippi responsibly.”
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.