Keeping it Real with the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art

In Fall of 2023, the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art put out a call for artists to submit their designs for a new mural themed “Hattiesburg in Realism.” Shows, Dearman and Waits, Inc. is honored to be the site for this new art mural in the Hub City.

The mural needed to be approximately 13 feet high by 42 feet wide and visible from the roundabout on Hardy St. and 2nd Avenue near the offices of Shows, Dearman and Waits, Inc.

Artists from all over the country submitted designs, but Sumer West, a student at William Carey University, was selected as the artist who would depict Hattiesburg’s past, present, and future in realism. She began her work in earnest in December of 2023.

The approximately 546 square foot art mural in progress.

Despite severe weather with the threat of tornados and days of extreme cold temperatures, Sumer managed to finish the mural, named “Hattiesburg Horizons,” within a month. The grand reveal and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on site at SDW on January 23, 2024, as “Hattiesburg Horizons” officially became the city’s 50th mural.

“Hattiesburg Horizons” becomes the Hub City’s 50th mural.

Hattiesburg’s rich history is represented in the mural, from depictions of the native Choctaw to William Hardy shown surveying the area he would found and develop into the bustling hub we enjoy now.

As SDW President Shea McNease said at the reveal, “We want the mural to be a source of not only learning about the history of this place, but as a way to inspire people to look toward the future.” Mayor Toby Barker, speaking about the challenges of realizing a vision of diversity in art and representation and the dream of becoming a city of 100 murals stated, “It’s not just about getting to 100 murals; it’s about creating joy.”

SDW President Shea McNease talks about Hattiesburg’s rich history and progressive potential.

“Our reasons for partnering on the mural are at the core of who SDW, Inc is as a local business,” states Shea. “We have existed in Hattiesburg for 61 years and have seen the city and the Pine Belt progress over those years. Our goal is to help all the communities which we are blessed to work in to progress positively. Not only in terms of the public infrastructure, but in all aspects of the community. As engineers we don’t get to work in the arts very often. We see this as a way to merge those two things together. This mural is a way to honor Hattiesburg’s past. It also gives a nod to the progressive mindset that has always moved Hattiesburg forward and that will project it into the future.”

“Thank you for this opportunity, Hattiesburg, for allowing me to be a part of and allowing me to leave my permanent mark in the city,” expressed an emotional Sumer West just before she proudly cut the ribbon with her daughter in front of the art exhibit bearing her name and celebrating the city’s history and the exciting developments on Hattiesburg’s horizon.

Sumer shares her proud moment with family, friends, and city officials.