The Power of Community in Shaping Public Art in Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a vibrant city that prides itself on its rich history and diverse community. As an expert in public art, I have seen firsthand the impact that community involvement can have on shaping the public art landscape of a city. In Hattiesburg, public art is not just about adding beauty to the streets, but it is also a reflection of the community's values, beliefs, and history.

The Importance of Public Art

Public art plays a crucial role in the identity and culture of a city. It not only adds aesthetic value but also serves as a reflection of the community's values, beliefs, and history.

In Hattiesburg, public art has become an integral part of the city's landscape, with various organizations and individuals coming together to commission and install these pieces.

The City's Role in Choosing Public Art

While the city plays a significant role in the selection and installation of public art pieces, it also recognizes the importance of involving the community in this process. The City of Hattiesburg has established a Public Art Commission (PAC) to oversee the selection and placement of public art throughout the city. The PAC is made up of seven members, including artists, architects, and community members. This diverse group works together to review proposals for public art projects and make recommendations to the City Council for approval. The PAC also ensures that all public art pieces adhere to the city's guidelines and policies.

Community Involvement in Choosing Public Art

The City of Hattiesburg understands that public art should not only be chosen by a select few but should also reflect the community's voice.

That is why they have implemented various initiatives to involve the community in the selection process. One such initiative is the "Art in Public Places" program, which encourages local artists to submit proposals for public art projects. This program not only provides opportunities for artists to showcase their work but also allows the community to have a say in the type of art they want to see in their city. The city also holds public forums and meetings where community members can voice their opinions and suggestions for public art projects. These forums allow for open discussions and provide a platform for community members to share their ideas and visions for public art in Hattiesburg.

Collaboration with Local Organizations

In addition to community involvement, the City of Hattiesburg also collaborates with local organizations to choose public art pieces. One such organization is the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art (HAPA), a non-profit group that works to promote and enhance public art in the city. HAPA partners with the city to commission and fund public art projects, ensuring that they align with the city's vision and values.

They also work closely with the PAC to involve the community in the selection process and ensure that all public art pieces are accessible and inclusive.

Impact of Community Involvement

The involvement of the community in choosing public art pieces has had a significant impact on Hattiesburg. It has not only resulted in a diverse range of public art but has also fostered a sense of ownership and pride among community members. By involving the community, the city has been able to choose public art pieces that reflect the city's history, culture, and values. This has created a stronger connection between the community and its surroundings, making Hattiesburg a more vibrant and welcoming place.


In conclusion, public art plays a vital role in shaping the identity and culture of a city. In Hattiesburg, the city recognizes the importance of community involvement in choosing public art pieces.

Through initiatives such as the "Art in Public Places" program and collaboration with local organizations, the city has been able to involve the community in this process and create a more inclusive and representative public art landscape.

Ivy Scudder
Ivy Scudder

Incurable social media enthusiast. Freelance pop culture lover. Proud zombie lover. Incurable food junkie. Devoted coffee evangelist.