During the course of regular meetings of the Lamar County 4-H Advisory Council, members of that organization – which engages youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development – came up with the idea of a mural to spread knowledge and awareness of the program in the area.
That idea was given the green light at a recent meeting of the Lamar County Board of Supervisors, where board members voted unanimously to approve the council’s request to paint a mural on the side of the Lamar County Mississippi State University Extension building on Shelby Street in Purvis. Lindsey Pansano, extension agent for the Lamar County 4-H program, said in the short time she’s been with the club, it’s become apparent that some people are unaware that 4-H is even present in the county.
“People don’t know that 4-H is available; you’d be amazed at how many people either don’t know what 4-H is, or don’t know that it’s available to them,” she said. “That was really our biggest reason for wanting to do it.
“I get complaints from parents that the building has a sign that says, ‘Mississippi State Extension,’ but there’s nothing on the building that says 4-H. So, it’s kind of multi-purpose – advertising and letting people know that the program is here, and also giving a marker for when people are trying to find us.”
The mural, which will take up the entire side of the building, will feature the slogan “4-H Grows Here,” along with the organization’s signature cloverleaf against a green background.
“It’s simple and to the point, and the words will be big enough that they’ll be easily legible from a far distance,” Pansano said. “It’s not intricate or anything like that … like a mural that has a lot of people in it, so it should be easy to paint.”
Officials from the Lamar County 4-H program have not chosen a specific artist for the project, as they expect club members and volunteers to complete the work. So far, a timeline has not been set for the mural.
“We definitely want (to start) as soon as we can get on it, obviously dealing with all the COVID guidelines, and weather permitting,” Pansano said. “We’re definitely not purposely waiting any length of time to start on it. I’m thrilled, and I think the advisory council will be thrilled, too.
“It’ll be a great way to market 4-H here, and to get the word out that we’re here. It’s definitely an identifying need that we have, is to get the word out. We’re going to do it from floor to ceiling, as big as we can make it. We’re looking to enroll as many kids as we can; we want to grow the program.”
Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said he is excited for the upcoming mural, as 4-H does an excellent job in the county.
“We’re a fast-growing county, and a lot of attention goes to the urbanized areas of the county, but the 4-H certainly serves the population that still has its roots grounded in our agricultural (area) as well,” he said. “We’re glad to have them; they’re a very valuable asset. The mural is great because it continues to bring a light to the good things they’re doing.”
Waits said to the best of his knowledge, the upcoming mural will be the first of its kind in the area.
“I know that a drive through Purvis is rather eclectic through there,” he said. “It’s not something that we’ve been approached about before, but we’re glad to accommodate them.”