Laughs for Life and the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art unveiled their newest mural in downtown Hattiesburg on Thursday, Sept. 10.
“Hub City, Smile” is the latest mural to be installed in Hattiesburg, and it is located on Market Street across the street from The Bottling Company.
River Prince of Prince Sign Company was the artist who helped bring this piece to fruition.
“The biggest tool we have to spread anything, whether it be positivity or negativity, or just – you know – nothing at all, is social media,” Prince said. “Hopefully people will take this as an initiative to share positivity – take a picture with the smile and the message.”
“Hub City, Smile” also adds a different element to the murals in Hattiesburg with the addition of a metal smile that people can stand around when having their picture taken.
“We do fabrication,” Prince said. “So, I made this (large metal smile) in our shop – it’s just a steel structure with an aluminum face – which is actually the Laughs 4 Life logo. I think that’s a bit out of the box to me, because murals, yeah, you can stand in front of them and get pictures, but you can immerse yourself in this one.”
Kent Oliver, founder of Laughs 4 Life Hattiesburg, was extremely pleased with the installation.
“I’ve always loved this idea of public art, and I’ve admired going to cities like Nashville and seeing the Nashville wings,” Oliver said. “I’ve always loved the idea of this interactive art.”
Laughs 4 Life is no stranger to downtown Hattiesburg and has been hosting events for the past four years at the Hattiesburg Saenger Theater as well as The Bottling Company. The group raises funds for cancer research and numerous medical facilities.
Oliver said that the mural’s proximity to a venue like The Bottling Company will be great for people to enjoy.
“Having the Bottling Company here, having The Lucky Rabbit down the street … obviously, we look forward to when we can get the streets packed (with people) again,” Oliver said. “I could see (the mural) being the type of thing that people gravitate toward.”
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker was also on hand to help unveil the mural.
“This piece of art … it says a lot about the strength of our city, to bring in the talent, diversity and overall passion of our people,” Barker said.
“Hub City, Smile” is the sixth mural to be completed in Hattiesburg this year and several others are currently in the planning stages.