Hattiesburg Mississippi’s Haven for the Arts

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is coming into its own as an arts destination thanks to a couple of quirky attractions. The Hattiesburg Public Art Trail links more than thirty murals and now has 47 stops highlighting sculptures and paintings along with the murals. The Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art, a program of VisitHATTIESBURG, recently unveiled the latest mural, “The Hattiesbirds.” Local as well as nationally-known artists have contributed works to the trail.

April’s exhibit at Mississippi’s smallest museum spotlights LEGO blocks and builds

The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, located in an alley behind the historic Saenger Theater, features an eclectic, changing kaleidoscope of quirky collections each month. From its initial display of Swiss Army Knives, the Pocket Museum has branched out, featuring rubber ducks, weapons of serial killers, origami, McDonald’s toys, nesting dolls, and trolls. Mississippi’s smallest museum keeps its focus broad: any quirky or unusual collection will be considered for inclusion. Its April exhibit, entitled “Let’s Connect,” features LEGO blocks and builds. It includes the Let’s Connect Skybridge art installation by artist River Prince,  who has turned the bridge connecting the parking garage across the alley into a colorful LEGO structure featuring LEGO climbers, climbing spotters  and observers.

Musical events are also a draw for Hattiesburg residents and visitors. The Live at Five concerts take place Fridays through May 13 at Town Square Park. Crawfish Jam is scheduled for April 23 at Walthall Park in the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood downtown. Midtown Sounds, a free outdoor community concert, is set for May 7 at the Southern Station amphitheater on The University of Southern Mississippi’s campus. This year’s headliner is national artist The Lone Bellow.

Sloths are a major attraction at the Hattiesburg Zoo

Meanwhile, quirky things are happening at the Hattiesburg Zoo.  The live feed Slothcam allows a closeup look at sloths Chewy, Mo and Maple, though there may not be a whole lot going on, since the subjects are, after all, sloths. The Sloth Experience, an up close encounter with a sloth, allows visitors the opportunity to feed and otherwise hang out with a sloth (contingent, as the website points out, upon the mood of the sloth in question). Despite, or because of, their placid lifestyle, the sloths are extremely popular; tickets for an encounter have been known to sell out months in advance. Under the circumstances, the visitor may very well elect to spend time with the giraffes instead; tickets for giraffe encounters are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on visiting Hattiesburg, check the website at www.visitHBURG.org

Photos courtesy VisitHATTIESBURG

Kathie Farnell
Kathie Farnell
Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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