Hattiesburg plans graceful icon for 2007

Come next spring Hattiesburg will be a city full of swans. The Area Development Partnership project is called "Festival of Swans," and its presenting sponsor is Women's Services of Forrest General Hospital.

"Festival of Swans" is a cultural project designed to place large swan sculptures throughout greater Hattiesburg. The sculptures will be five feet tall by five feet long and 3 1/2 feet wide. They will be made of a heavy-duty fiberglass material and then painted and decorated.

Sponsorships for the sculptures are $2,500. Sponsors will own the sculptures and can choose themes and select the decorating artists.

Other components of the project will be educational, like swan-themed books for children and a student art competition.

"We see this as a way to drive home the message that quality of life is not lip service in economic development, but it's a key and core aspect and we feel the 'Festival of Swans' is something we can do to contribute to our community," says ADP President Angie Godwin.

"I think when we bring people here for recruitment purposes, when we are trying to recruit health professionals, whether it's physicians or nurses," says Forrest General's Millie Swan, "they enjoy seeing the cultural awareness and activities they can take part in. This will bring the USM Symphony, it will bring ballet and and reading programs for children, so it will be a well-rounded event that will bring a lot of participation."