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HAPA Unveils First Mural In Broadway Drive Series

October 30, 2023

HATTIESBURG, MS (Oct. 27, 2023) – Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA) joined Brighter Broadway, a Leadership Pinebelt group, to unveil the city’s latest mural. Part of an ongoing Broadway Drive revitalization effort, the new piece is titled ‘Essence of Happiness.’ It is Hattiesburg’s 48th large-scale, permanent mural.

The Brighter Broadway initiative began through efforts of a 2023 Area Development Partnership Leadership Pinebelt small group. The group’s mission is to inspire wellness, unity, diversity, inclusion, and development on Broadway Drive. Plans began with a public art partnership with HAPA and also include green space, curb development, and landscaping along the well-traveled roadway that serves as a gateway into downtown Hattiesburg.

“As the Brighter Broadway leadership team, we’re doing more than just facilitating the creation of murals,” group officials said. “We’re painting a future where art inspires growth, unity, and pride in our community along Broadway Drive.”

Following a national call for artists in August seeking an original design concept, Hattiesburg artist Andrea Kostyal’s artwork was selected from more than a dozen entries. ‘Essence of Happiness’ illustrates how progress and life choices impact both individual and community vitality. The mural stands at 75” wide by 18” tall, measuring 1,350 square feet.

“This mural includes portraits of diverse children representing the future. In the middle of the design is a dandelion, illustrating a wish for hope, resilience, and happiness in the community,” said Kosytal. “The abstract brushstrokes and bubbles permeate the colorful design to create a dreamlike feeling.”

Kostyal, a local art studio owner, also designed the ‘New Normal’ mural in downtown Hattiesburg in 2020 along with several painted utility boxes throughout the community. “There is immense talent found in Hattiesburg. This project has been a collaboration of gifted leaders and creatives committed to transforming the community through public art,” said VisitHATTIESBURG CEO Marlo Dorsey. “Brighter Broadway has transcended aesthetics, sparking conversations about the vision for the neighborhood’s future vitality and purpose.”

Since 2020, HAPA has worked to significantly grow Hattiesburg’s public art throughout the city, both in murals and utility boxes. This is the organization’s first large-scale mural along Broadway Drive.

“The Broadway Drive corridor is positioned for growth and redevelopment,” said Barker. “I’m proud of this group of young leaders who saw that potential and chose to steer their Leadership Pinebelt project toward that vision. This mural, and their additional beautification efforts for this area, will go far as we work toward a master plan that presents Broadway Drive as both a destination and entrance into Downtown Hattiesburg.”

Since 1989, Leadership Pinebelt has trained emerging and existing leaders in Greater Hattiesburg. The program comprises a network of professionals and community volunteers who are committed to shaping the community and serves as a catalyst for increasing diversity among future leaders.

Brighter Broadway group members include Mavis Creagh, R3SM; Michael McCullum, The University of Southern Mississippi; Hilaire Long, Anderson Design; Ed Hargrove, Accelerate MS; Amanda Sanford, Jones Capital; and Kevin Kitchens, Landry Lewis Germany Architects PA.

To learn more about HAPA or for a map of existing public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or hburgart.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. HAPA continues to purchase and place art throughout the city – in parks, neighborhoods, public buildings, and businesses – while also raising awareness for works of art already in the area. The organization is partially funded by VisitHATTIESBURG, Mississippi Arts Commission grants, the City of Hattiesburg, and other local organizations and individuals who believe in the importance of public art.