HAPA Unveils Mural Celebrating USM Ahead of Homecoming Game
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An iconic section of campus at The University of Southern Mississippi is now home to Hattiesburg’s newest piece of public art, titled ‘Soar and Score.’ HAPA, along with project partners, unveiled the original black and gold mural, which celebrates the University’s impact on its students, alumni, and community, at Eagle Walk as part of Southern Miss’s homecoming festivities.
USM’s Interim President Dr. Joe Paul has welcomed Hattiesburg’s latest public art addition, noting the importance of creating memorable gathering places on campus.
“The University of Southern Mississippi is thrilled to be the location of HAPA’s newest mural. Aubri has perfectly captured one great Southern Miss tradition, championship athletics, through a second, the visual arts. I cannot wait for Golden Eagle friends and fans to get their first look at ‘Soar and Score,’ during Homecoming Weekend,” said Paul.
For more than two years, USM students were unable to participate in traditional events and activities at Eagle Walk, due pandemic-related limitations. However, as 2022 homecoming preparations began, collegiate sports marketer Learfield engaged HAPA to partner on the project for the beloved campus space.
Hattiesburg’s public art has grown significantly throughout the city, both in murals and utility boxes, since 2020. ‘Soar and Score’ marks the city’s 35th large-scale mural, bringing the HBURG Public Art Trail’s total stops to more than 50.
“In the race to become the ‘City of 100 Murals,’ we intentionally seek new spaces to activate and beautify with original works of art. It takes a network of partners to ensure projects are funded and completed with excellence, and we are thankful to this project’s many supporters,” said Kristen Brock, HAPA program director. “This mural at Eagle Walk will make lasting impressions on thousands of students, fans, and alumni for years to come as they enjoy campus and gamedays. We are thrilled with the final piece and cannot wait to see everyone enjoying it.”
Following an open call for artists in September, artist Aubri Sparkman’s entry was selected for the space from more than 20 original design entries. A 17-year-old Hattiesburg native, Sparkman leaned on her many childhood visits to the University’s campus for project inspiration.
“The mural’s palette uses a mix of gold, grey and white paint to represent the iconic colors of USM,” said Sparkman. “The design pays tribute to the band and athletics at USM, while highlighting several recognizable figures important to the University.”
‘Soar and Score’ is a collaborative project with Learfield, The University of Southern Mississippi, Bok Homa Casino, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Southern Miss Athletics, Sherwin-Williams, and Southern Miss Alumni Association.
To learn more about HAPA or for a map of existing public art in Hattiesburg, visit HAPA’s Facebook and Instagram pages or hburgart.com.