Hattiesburg's new mural shows city's cultural diversity, mayor says





Hattiesburg is rich in diversity, something the city embraces with its Sixth Street museums dedicated to Black heritage, the city's historic preservation efforts and now a growing Latino population.

On Tuesday, the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art with Downtown Hattiesburg, the city of Hattiesburg and Compadres Market owners Alfredo and Myra Sandoval welcomed the city's 45th mural, "Noche de Encanto," by Hattiesburg artist Hector Boldo.

"Noche de Encanto" is Boldo's first full-scale mural, but not his first public art piece in the city. Boldo has painted three utility boxes with colorful flair and a nod to his Mexican heritage.

"Noche de Encanto," which means "night of enchantment," is a celebration, Boldo said.

"I wanted to paint something that celebrates culture, folklore and the resilience of the Latino community," he said during the mural's unveiling.

The mural includes a sugar skull, folkloric dancers, nopales cactus and prickly pear, which symbolize celebration, unity and remembrance, Boldo said. His husband, Tom Boldo, assisted in painting the mural.

Hattiesburg is working toward installing 100 murals throughout the city, a project that began in 2020. It is nearly halfway to its goal.

Mayor Toby Barker praised the Sandovals for their efforts in giving new life to the once-abandoned building. He thanked Boldo for the artwork that further beautified the new grocery store, which opened in December, and the North Main Historic District that serves as a corridor to the downtown area. He also acknowledged other Hattiesburg businessmen like Chad Edmonson and David Ott, who are doing their part to revitalize the North Main neighborhood.

"There's a lot going on here," Barker said. "There's a lot to get excited about."

VisitHattiesburg Director Marlo Dorsey said the murals are meant to be welcome mats for the city's visitors and residents alike.

"We have to create a welcome mat for people of all backgrounds and types," she said, "regardless of the color of our skin, our religion or our orientation."

To see the mural, visit Compadres Market at the corner of North Main and Seventh Streets.