Having spent some time brainstorming ideas to update the visuals in downtown Sumrall, town officials are now working on the first of several design projects in that endeavor: a new mural on the side of municipal court building on City Hall Avenue.
The mural, which is expected to be completed by early October, is the result of a collaboration between the Sumrall Main Street Association and Lissa Ortego, an art teacher at Sumrall High School. Oretgo will paint the mural on the building, along with help from her students.
“A mural seemed like the best way to start the momentum (on updating the visuals), and with Lissa having so much experience with other outdoor projects like Hattiesburg’s Pocket Museum, it seemed like a natural fit to take the lead on artwork and design,” said Sabreya DeLancey, executive director of the Sumrall Main Street Association.
“And since she happens to be the Sumrall High School art teacher, it really was a no-brainer. She agreed, and we are thrilled she was able to fit this project into her schedule.”
The mural, which is being funded entirely by The Granberry Agency, will feature the word “Sumrall” in script above four bicycles. The background will consist of a kaleidoscope of colors, including blue, pink and white.
The painting of the bikes will be life-sized, which will allow residents and visitors to pose for social media-ready pictures in front of the mural. The painting will be visible from the Sumrall station of Longleaf Trace, the multi-use pathway that runs from Hattiesburg to Prentiss.
“There will be lots of color in the mural to brighten up our downtown space and bring some cheer to the neighborhood,” DeLancey said. “ I, along with the rest of our Main Street board, am beyond excited to have something tangible that everyone can see and interact with.
“Being a new organization, we have spent the last few months making plans, canceling plans, doing lots of paperwork and working behind the scenes on projects that may not happen for months, or even happen at all. But this is finally something fun that we can show off, and will continue to be a spot for great photos and fun moments for our residents and visitors of Sumrall for years to come.”
DeLancey said she expects the mural to fit in well with the town’s two existing murals, which depict history of the town, including its founding by Daniel Sumrall in the late 1800s.
“(Those murals) are still very much a part of the town, but the focus of those was on the history of Sumrall as a town,” she said. “The new mural is intended to be more interactive, vibrant, colorful, and to attract people to town.
“I think the two existing murals are great for telling the story of Sumrall’s history, and the new mural will depict the present with the Instragrammable bicycles, which imitates the Rails to Trails (Longleaf Trace) project in a way. All three are within walking distance of the Longleaf Trace Sumrall station.”
Two more murals are expected in the future, and although designs for those projects have not begun, officials are forming a designing committee. That committee will be made up of volunteers who will work on future projects, including the murals.
While few residents have seen the design of the upcoming mural, Mayor William Joel Lofton and the Sumrall Board of Aldermen have all approved the project.
“(They) seem to be very excited about it,” DeLancey said. “Most of our conversations have been about how this mural will prompt so many other projects, upgrades and possibilities around our town.”