The Saenger Theater
The historical Saenger Theater is one of the only seven Saenger theaters built and operated throughout the south by the Saenger brothers. Upon completion of the $3.75 million renovation, the Saenger Theater has once again become the celebrated arts venue in the heart of historic downtown. The Hattiesburg Convention Commission and the City of Hattiesburg saw the Saenger as an opportunity to help grow downtown. THe Hattiesburg Convention Comission began managing the theater in 2003. The Saenger Theater celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009.
Every year, the Seanger Theater holds the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition along with several other productions and shows. To find out more about the Seanger Theater’s schedule, click here.
Lucile Parker Art Gallery at William Carey University
The Lucile Parker Gallery is located in the Thomas Fine Arts Building on the Hattiesburg campus of William Carey University. The Lucile Parker Gallery opened on December 4, 1990. It was named for Miss Lucile Parker, a Mississippi artist known for her botanical drawings and paintings and her portrait work. Miss Parker organized the art department at William Carey and served as chairperson from 1974 until 1983.
The gallery stands as a testimonial to the legacy of Lucile Parker as a teacher who instilled in her students a love of beauty and inspired them to go beyond the possible.
The Lucile Parker Collection consists of 141 artworks by Lucile Parker, with the exception of a group of 17 by Marie Hull, which were donated to the college by Miss Parker from her private collection. Many works were given to the college by Miss Parker’s family after her death in 1988. Works in the collection include paintings and drawings of flowers, landscapes and portraits, beautifully done in watercolor, mixed media, etching, pencil, graphite, oils, and acrylic.
Exhibitions of local, state, and nationally known artists are scheduled August through May in the gallery. Usually five to seven exhibits are held with the permanent Lucile Parker Collection on display during the summer.
The gallery is open during the academic year from 1:00-4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except during holidays and announced closings. It is open by appointment in the summer.
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The Sarah Gillespie Collection at William Carey University
The Sarah Gillespie Collection is considered to be the most comprehensive and extensive collection of art executed by Mississippians during the twentieth century. Numbering nearly 500 works and including work by artists from every section of the state, employing various media and exploring wide ranging subject matter, the collection is a true artistic, social and historical treasure which represents the work, determination and enthusiasm of Miss Gillespie.
In 1982 Miss Gillespie began donating works to William Carey College, (University since 2008). She continued throughout her lifetime and bequeathed a large number to the University. Though the Sarah Gillespie Gallery, located on the Coast Campus of WCU, was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the collection has undergone extensive conservation and preservation measures. These measures saved the collection and allow full representation of Miss Gillespie’s intent and life’s work.
Exhibits will be drawn from the collection, changing periodically to allow the entire collection to be exhibited over time. Works will be exhibited following the opening of the Sarah Gillespie Gallery scheduled for the spring of 2009 on the Hattiesburg campus of William Carey University.
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., except during university holidays.
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South Mississippi ART Space (smART Space)
The South Mississippi ART Space (smART Space) is an after- school program that provides free access to visual arts, music, theater, writing, and creative movement to children from ages 4- 13. It is a component of the smART enrichment program for elementary students that combines visual art concepts with healthy living principles. The students even learn how to mimic Mayor Johnny DuPree as improvisational theatre. The classes are held at the C. E. Roy Community Center, 300 East 5th Street, on Thursdays and Fridays from 3:15 until 5:30pm. From May 1 through May 12, 2015, the artwork of students attending Woodley, Burney and Hawkins Elementary Schools will be on display at the Hattiesburg Library, 329 Hardy Street. The programs are made possible through the collaboration of the Hattiesburg Arts Council and the City of Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation Department who is funding the program for an estimated $21,000.
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Hattiesburg Little Free Libraries
On February 7, 2015, the City of Hattiesburg Mayor’s Office, Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art and Hattiesburg Arts Council introduced to the community one of the most unique and clever tools to promote literacy in the Pine Belt area—Little Free Libraries. The group revealed 24 public sculptures during an exhibit at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center as part of the Take a Look, Find a Book Initiative. The sculptures were created by City of Hattiesburg employees, local artists, architects, contractors, businesses, neighborhood associations, and children. Guests were encouraged to bring a gently, used book to donate. “Mayor DuPree has been an avid supporter of this effort,” said Rebekah Stark Johnson, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Arts Council. “The very first donation we received came from the him. He provided funding for children’s books in hopes of encouraging parents to read more frequently to their young children,” she said. The City of Hattiesburg Traffic and Construction Division built the first five Little Free Libraries which are situated at city parks and community centers. Mayor DuPree would purchase the first set of books for each location.
Sounds of Innovation – Public Art Sculptures
Hattiesburg is abuzz with sounds of pounding hammers driving nails into newly planted slabs of concrete; abuzz with sounds of saws sculpting pieces of metal and wood into works of art; sounds of cranes escorting those pieces to their permanent homes; and most special of all, abuzz with the sounds of oohs and aahs from artists, young and old, as they cement their images of innovation on the newest occupants of our community. The sights and sounds are a part of the 2014-2015 city’s rollout of its most unconventional ways yet to promote education and the arts—the unveiling of 8 Public Art Sculptures, and 31 Little Free Librairies painted by area youth promoting the Take a Look, Find a Book Initiative. Also revealed was the Hub City Access- Hattiesburg-Area Youth Master Plan.