Hattiesburg, Mississippi – During a press conference on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art and the Downtown Hattiesburg Association to unveil artwork by Hattiesburger Louisa Shows, that will be featured on the Midnight on Front Street, Hattiesburg’s New Year’s Eve Celebration poster.
Aptly titled, “Looking Up to Hattiesburg” was the result of Shows imagining what it must have been like in 1912 for children in the crowd. She added, “I imagined what it would be like to look up in awe toward the sign with all of its bright lights illuminating an otherwise dark skyline – ultimately providing hope looking toward the future ahead.”
Shows has been a resident of Hattiesburg since 2011 and is a local artist specializing in live event painting and original artwork. She lives in Midtown with her husband and two young daughters.
“Selecting the design of this event poster is one of the early traditions established with Midnight on Front Street,” said Barker. “Choosing an artist who captures the magic of this event is a big responsibility and each year we’re excited to see the talent that exists in our community. This year’s artist does a great job of highlighting the magnitude of Midnight on Front Street and the awestruck feeling that those in the crowd must have felt in 1912.”
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. Each year has garnered several submissions, with a small committee convening to choose the winner during a blind presentation of all submitted work.
Past artwork was created by Glenda Grubbs (2019), the event was virtual in 2020, Gretchen McClure (2021) and Kym Garraway (2022). A limited number of posters will be printed, numbered and sold ahead of the event on Sunday, December 31, 2023. 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 Confetti Countdown in the Alley – a children/family-friendly event a 6:30 p.m. in the Pocket Museum alley. All details can be accessed 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.