Hattiesburg, Mississippi – During a press conference on Wednesday, December 7, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art and the Downtown Hattiesburg Association to unveil artwork by long-time Hattiesburger, Kym Garraway, that will be featured on the Midnight on Front Street, Hattiesburg’s New Year’s Eve Celebration poster.
The artwork “Hub City is on Track” was inspired by merging the old and the new. “This event is about taking something old (the sign) and implementing it in a new way (dropping it on New Year’s Eve). I also wanted to incorporate the old style of the railcars with the new architecture of the Train Depot,” said Garraway.
Garraway was raised in Hattiesburg and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Art and Education. Upon graduation, she studied art for a period of time in Italy. She began her career as an artist in 1991, primarily as a means to stay at home with her children, but has since created many, many pieces of art – including two murals located in Downtown Hattiesburg. A fourth-generation artist, Kym began painting “spider webs” at age two with her grandmother, Lois. Her mother is also very creative and remains one of Kym’s best critics.
“It’s fitting that Kym is a part of this celebration. It’s the 110th anniversary of the Hub Sign’s reveal to our city and she was a part of the artwork that celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2012,” said Barker. “We’re excited that Kym’s artwork will serve as a focal point for this year’s event and as we continue to work toward putting Hattiesburg on the map as a New Year’s Eve destination.”
The idea of creating an official event poster for Midnight on Front Street began in 2019 as an opportunity for the City to chronicle the event’s history with a tribute to both the past and the future.
Past artwork was created by Glenda Grubbs (2019), the event was virtual in 2020 and Gretchen McClure (2021). A limited number of posters will be printed, numbered and distributed as promotional items for the event. More details about the artwork can be located at hburgart.com.
Midnight on Front Street is slated to take place at the intersection of Front Street and Main Street where the original Hub Sign from 1912 was presented to the Commercial Club for the City by the Henry L. Doherty & Company. Ten seconds to Midnight, a replica of the original sign will be lowered to usher in the new year.
In addition to the Hub Sign drop, the event will also feature a dual fireworks show, open downtown restaurants, food trucks, live music and new this year – a kid’s event at 8 p.m. in the Pocket Museum alley. More details will be shared in the coming weeks at hburgnye.com.
About the Hub Sign:
The 1912 sign, a gift to benefit the city by the Henry L. Doherty & Company, was 42-feet in diameter, with 1,142 lights, rising 50-feet above the Ross Building (now the American Building on Front Street) and 140-feet from the sidewalk.
The 2018 replica sign was constructed by John Aust of Aust Farms and donated to the City of Hattiesburg by Neel-Schaffer Engineering Firm. It is constructed of three 5-foot by 5-foot sheets of stamped steel and weighs approximately 375 pounds. On New Year’s Eve, it hangs approximately 100 feet in the air with help from the Hattiesburg Fire Department’s ladder truck.
About Midnight on Front Street:
Midnight on Front Street is a premier destination event for Hattiesburg, hosted by the City of Hattiesburg, VisitHattiesburg and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. For all details regarding the event and its partners, visit hburgnye.com.