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September 30, 2020

HATTIESBURG, MS – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is pleased to announce its newest mural project, featuring the work of internationally-renowned street mural artist Kelsey  Montague. Located in Downtown Hattiesburg, the newest piece is a part of the worldwide  #WhatLiftsYou collection and is the seventh mural to be unveiled by HAPA so far this year.  

Hattiesburg’s #WhatLiftsYou mural is the first public art piece painted by Montague in  Mississippi and is one stop in her latest U.S. road trip. This vibrant blue and white street art connects the city to more than 300 similar murals throughout the globe. The project, located  on the West Pine Street parking garage, features dragonflies soaring up the structure. Now the  tallest mural in Hattiesburg, #WhatLiftsYou was made possible in large part by the City of  Hattiesburg and the philanthropy of locals Catherine and Chad Edmonson.  

“HAPA brings artworks outside the traditional context of museums and into the open, turning  spaces like this alley into really interesting, activated public spaces. We’re thrilled to have an  internationally known artist of Montague’s stature creating work in the heart of Hattiesburg,”  Catherine Edmonson said. “Every visit to this mural brings my kids alive. Their enthusiasm is  contagious. Public art unites people by bringing everyone together to enjoy fresh air and art.” 

Through their love of public art, the Edmonsons connected with Montague who travels the  world painting interactive street art murals meant to inspire and uplift viewers. Visitors are  encouraged to become a part of the art and share their experience on social media. The  #WhatLiftsYou mural series went viral six years ago when singer Taylor Swift shared Montague’s  New York City black and white wings mural on Instagram.  

“Mississippi is gorgeous, and the Hattiesburg community has been so lovely,” Montague said  during her first visit to the state. “We’ve had a number of people stop by. You can feel how  supportive the community is and what a great area this is. It means a lot to have my mural here, because I think it’s going to be a really good fit.” 

HAPA has partnered with the City of Hattiesburg on several public art projects, highlighting the  community as Mississippi’s creative hub. Many of the works unveiled this year were designed  by Hattiesburg and Mississippi natives in support of the area’s diverse group of creatives.  

“I want people to know they can find beauty and hope in the most unexpected of places.  Particularly this year, it’s been hard to find that sense of confidence and certainty,” Mayor Toby  Barker said. “However, it’s important for Hattiesburgers to know their community is passionate  about amplifying local talent and bringing artists with the caliber of Kelsey Montague to the  area. Exploring and discovering something new – to see our community afresh – is what’s going  to get us through 2020 and beyond.” 

The #WhatLiftsYou dragonfly project increases the number of public murals to 20 in  Hattiesburg and is HAPA’s ninth mural commission. A program of VisitHATTIESBURG, HAPA will continue to spread the message that Hattiesburg is an artfully open community for visitors  to safely explore.  

“We continue to work with partners to elevate our community’s outdoor spaces with uplifting  messages and are grateful to both the Edmonsons and Mayor Barker for their vision on this  project.,” Marlo Dorsey, Executive Director of VisitHATTIESBURG, said. “Public art provides  inspiration and a safe outlet for residents and visitors during the unprecedented global  pandemic. This is one way we can do our part to ensure all guests can experience the joy of  traveling to Hattiesburg while visiting Mississippi responsibly.”  

The #WhatLiftsYou mural is surrounded by several other ongoing public art efforts. In addition  to this piece in 2020, HAPA has also unveiled “Hattiesburg: The Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll” on  the façade of T-bones Records & Café, “Wonderful Day” across from the Hattiesburg Public  Library, “Let’s Go” at Sunflower grocery store, “Yellow Brick Road” in Hattiesburg’s  Community Arts Center, “Suffrage” near the Thirsty Hippo, and “Hub City, Smile” on Mobile  Street. Several additional projects are currently being painted around Hattiesburg, with more  planned for fall and winter 2020.  

For a map of public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or Other works in the #WhatLiftsYou series can be found on social media at @kelseymontagueart.  

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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.