Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Wednesday, October 7, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by local artists Kym Garraway and River Prince with Prince Sign Co. to cut the ribbon on Downtown Hattiesburg’s latest mural – “Let There Be Light.”
This mural, almost spanning the height of the West Pine Street parking garage, features the iconic Hub Sign that sat atop the Ross Building (now the America Building) on Front Street from 1912 until 1947. It is a reproduction of an original painting by Garraway produced in 2001, which was inspired by an archived photo/drawing of the sign from its early days.
“This was such a fun project to be a part of and, I’m so excited our mayor is helping to put color on our walls and brightening our town through murals and art,” said Garraway. “I was born and raised here, and I’m still here. That was my dream – to make it work so that I could be an artist in a city I love.”
The quote that accompanies the mural was hand-painted by Prince who is well-known for his free-hand lettering styles which can be seen on the mural outside of T-Bone’s on Hardy Street and the Smile Mural on Mobile Street. The quote, “It is the Hattiesburg spirit to go after things and to get them, especially big things.” was stated by Reverend E.D. Solomon, a local pastor who spoke at the 1912 celebration when the sign was presented and lit. According to Barker, it holds a special meaning and serves as a challenge for all residents and visitors.
“We chose this quote to accompany the Hub Sign artwork because of the mission and tone it sets for our city. And, if I had one wish for our city, it would be that… to live into that value of the Hattiesburg spirit – going after big things, punching above our weight, pushing ourselves to be in a bigger class and play in a bigger league,” Barker said. “I want it to resonate with and inspire those who live here now – as we navigating through a really tough season. But, I also want future generations to see it and feel compelled to join in such a civic mission – doing something big, something they never thought they could do.”
Under the vision set by Barker to create more opportunities and easier access to public art – along with support from the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art – this mural is one of many that have been revealed in 2019 and 2020. All are listed at https://hattiesburgpublicart.org/.