A local artist is seeking permission to change the zoning classification of a downtown Hattiesburg property that would allow the facility to be used as work/live space for him and his business.
Vixon Sullivan – who is perhaps best-known around the Hub City for his ceramics work – has filed a petition to change the zoning at 100 Evans Street from B-5 (Regional Business) to B-4 (Downtown Business). A public hearing on the matter before the Hattiesburg Planning Commission will be held at 1 p.m. April 1 at Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center, 220 West Front St. in downtown Hattiesburg.
“I purchased the property in January, and my goal is to get in there and to make it a location for my ceramic building, and (the zoning) would basically change it from commercial to mixed-use,” Sullivan said. “That way, it’ll be a work/live space for me, and hopefully in the future it’ll be a place where people can come and do their own pottery, and eventually get to a point to where they can come and purchase things. But the beginning process of it is just the addition of a center for my work.”
In addition to his ceramic work, Sullivan – who has served as president of the South Mississippi Art Association – has collaborated on several other projects around Hattiesburg, including a Mississippi Jook Band mural painted with Kym Garraway-Braley near the C.E. Roy Community Center. He also partnered with Columbia artist Ben Watts to create a statue of slain civil rights worker Vernon Dahmer, which is on display in front of the Forrest County Circuit Court building.
Vixon said he was drawn to the property, in large part, because it is part of the redevelopment of Ward 2, in particular the Twin Forks Rising project spearheaded by Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado.
“I’ve done a lot of work with the Twin Forks Rising redevelopment in Ward 2, and I thought it would be fitting to actually invest in that property,” he said. “And also, in that area, there are plans to be a cultural arts and innovation district. So I thought, what better to put in there?”
Vixon also hopes the facility will fill the need for a Hattiesburg business that focuses on ceramics.
“So it was in line with a few things,” he said. “It was in line with the expansion of downtown, to bring more art downtown and to bring more business downtown.
“It was also part of Twin Forks Rising, so I’m basically both right at the edge of downtown and at the edge of Twin Forks Rising. So I thought it was the perfect spot for me.”