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Hub City artists transform utility boxes into mini murals

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Local artists are leaving their mark across Hattiesburg in small ways thanks to a unique public art project. The Hattiesburg Association for Public Art is helping artists transform utility boxes into miniature murals.

After a call for artists that inspired many to apply, painters like Abigail Allen are sharing their creative vision.

“I looked into it and I found out I actually had to fill out a form, which made me very nervous because I like a paintbrush not a pen,“ Allen said.

Allen painted the box at the corner of 4th Street and Main Street in downtown Hattiesburg.

Pointing to her work Allen explains, “It’s called Feed a Child’s Imagination. This is actually after a girl that we taught over at a public school here, and I just wanted to paint her there and have her imagination exploding everywhere. If we feed children’s imaginations, they get smarter, they get wiser, they get wiser, they get stronger.”

Thanks to a variety of artists, each box has its own rich inspiration and vibrant story. Mexico city native Hector Boldo is excited to share powerful symbols of his identity and faith with his new home city by painting two boxes.

His box at the corner of East Hardy and Williams Streets depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe among other traditional Mexican themes.

“So the concept of this piece is based on my Mexican heritage, obviously,” Boldo said. “The name of this piece is ‘Serenata,’ which translates to serenade and basically this happens every year in Mexico City. It’s a celebration of her apparition in Mexico.”

Boldo also painted a box at Hardy Street and 34th Streets titled “Blooming Death,” celebrating El Dia de los Muertos.

“My goal was to have some sort of cultural exchange for them to see other cultures,” Boldo said. “It’s just a tiny little piece of my culture that I wanted to bring into Hattiesburg.”

The utility box project is currently in phase two of three. Phase one completed five boxes. Phase two is set to complete 22 boxes, twelve of which are complete. Phase three is being planed right now.

Allen said she was honored to participate.

“The thing that was the best about it was the community,” Allen said. “Every single person that walked around, walked by, drove by, would cheer and say it’s beautiful and say thank you and I really felt like I was received in this neighborhood really well and it was a great experience.”

You can find the locations of the completed boxes and story behind each at hburgart.com.

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