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Hattiesburg, MS: Best Spots To Visit for Street Art

Known as the heart of The HUB City network, downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a cultural oasis amidst the bustling cities it links: Natchez, Jackson, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, and Meridian. Boasting a diverse and rich art scene, Hattiesburg has transformed its streets into canvases, murals into stories, and graffiti into a shared cultural voice. Hattiesburg promises a colorful display for art enthusiasts, locals, and wanderlust-filled visitors.

The HUB: Hattiesburg, MIssissippi

The Canvas on the Street: Understanding the Art Revolution

Street art is more than just a visual spectacle; it’s a visual reminder that reflects the ethos and pulse of a community. In Hattiesburg, artists have taken to the streets for expression and as a medium to unite the city, telling stories of its history, culture, and people. The movement has become integral to local identity, drawing both locals and tourists to its vibrant enclaves.

Local artists have a platform for street art in the city. It bridges historical divides and shines a light on collective struggles and triumphs. In Hattiesburg, street art is not fleeting; it’s a living tale of the city, constantly evolving with new brushstrokes and ideas. This cultural canvas promotes the city making it a must-visit for those who appreciate art that speaks to the soul of the city.

Uncovering the Best Street Art Hotspots 

A tour of Hattiesburg’s street art scene is like a treasure hunt across the city’s neighborhoods. In Downtown, murals like New Normal by Andrea Kostyal brighten the urban landscape to convey a unique story, bound to the city’s past or present and often the hope of its future.

The University District brings the exuberance of youth with art on the campus walls. The Historic Neighborhood Graffiti peeks into a different era, marking a corner of the city’s fabric that speaks to resilience and history. Discovering these spots is like immersing oneself in a gallery without walls, where the city is the maestro of this splendid symphony of colors.

Hattiesburg, MS: Andrea Kostyal’s New Normal, at North Main Street

Local Artists and Their Notable Works

The vibrancy of Hattiesburg’s street art is a testament to the talent that calls it home. Local artists such as Kym Garraway, Jason Kimes, and Andrea Kostyal have marked their territory on the city’s walls, making their art a gift to the public. Their works, from the serene to the enigmatic, from the historical to the humorous, are ingrained in the city’s visual vocabulary and vital to its allure.

These creators are the heroes of Hattiesburg’s art movement, infusing their creations with emotion and story, inviting every passerby to stop, look, and think about the messages the art suggests. It’s through their works that visitors can glimpse the city’s soul and understand why Hattiesburg’s streets are as unique as the people who call it home.

Fostering Engagement and Interaction through Art

Hattiesburg doesn’t just showcase art; it invites you to be a part of it. Art walks across the city unite the community to celebrate these public galleries. Workshops and events engage the public, encouraging hands-on participation and a deeper understanding of the craft.

In the old downtown area not far from the Coney Island Café, you’ll find the Pocket Museum as West Front Street intersects North Main Street. It’s a street alleyway chock full of quirky mini-art pieces.

The city’s effort to involve locals and visitors alike in its art scene creates a vibrant ecosystem of learning and expression. The result is a beautiful city and a culture that cherishes and actively supports its artistry, where everyone has a space to interact with and contribute to the burgeoning art movement.

Promoting Street Art Tourism 

Social media campaigns and local business collaborations have been crucial in promoting Hattiesburg as an art tourism hub. The tag #ARTHBURG has become a digital gallery, showcasing the best local street art and encouraging visitors to explore further.

Local businesses embrace the art, incorporating it into their aesthetic and messaging. This commerce and creativity partnership has driven foot traffic to these locales and financially supported the expanding art scene.

Live Music and Great Food Across The Art Scene

You’ll get hungry walking around Hattiesburg to see all the street art. Here’s an idea. Start your day with breakfast at the Coney Island Cafe on West Railroad Street. You can snap photos of the street art on the front and back of the restaurant building before breakfast. 

After breakfast, you can walk across the street to snag a photo of Andrea Kostyal’s New Normal pastel-like work. Then, you can walk across the railroad tracks and snap a picture of the Mississippi Music Company mural.

Mural on the rear of the Coney Island Cafe, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at North Main Street and the railroad tracks

You are liable to run into live music at various times throughout the year in Hattiesburg, and you might encounter a festival during your visit. After all, Rock and Roll is rooted in the blues tradition of Mississippi. Two brothers from Hattiesburg recorded an early version of Rock and Roll in 1936 — about 14 years before the Rock and Roll scene exploded worldwide in the 1950s. You’ll find a historic marker on Mobile Street, between East 6th and 7th streets, that cites Hattiesburg’s entry into the Rock and Roll era.

Rock and Roll Historic Marker, Hattiesburg, MS

Co-located with the Rock and Roll historical marker is a serpentine mural that displays imagery of notable blacks, their achievements, and their impact on our history. A QR code appears below the image of each person. Invocation of the code reveals details about the person.

Why Does Street Art Matter

Street art invites you to explore city neighborhoods and discover its unique charm. As you wander the streets to admire the artwork, you’ll visit local museums to learn more about the area’s culture and history. Nearby restaurants and cafes also benefit as these visitors stop for meals or coffee breaks. In this way, street art plays a crucial role in driving tourism and supporting local businesses.

To dive deeper into Hattiesburg’s art realm, plan your tour at Hattiesburg Public Art and prepare to be dazzled by the creativity that lines the streets. Remember to share your experiences using the #ARTHBURG hashtag on your social media posts. 

The splendid artworks and the community’s open attitude towards its art ensure that Hattiesburg will not just be a stopping point on your travels but a must-see destination within the Gulf State HUB city network.

Mississippi Music Inc., Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Mississippi Music Inc., Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Street Art Around The South

Yes, Hattiesburg is the HUB city in the Gulf States and a giant and leader on the public art scene. But you’ll find up and coming artists and mural initiatives across the south in other areas. Here’s two notable artists and their works in Arkansas.

Arkansas native Erin Ashcraft makes her mark across the south with murals in Monticello and McGehee, Arkansas and elsewhere. You can learn more about her strategies and methods of composition from our earlier story here.

Long time artist Patrick Cunningham put the giant Venus of the Springs mosaic on the back wall of the US Post Office building in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We were lucky to catch Patrick and the commissioner of this work, Thomas Nagin, as Patrick was at work in 2023. You can learn more about Patrick and his work from our earlier story here.

Street Art Around The World

Street art is a worldwide phenomena. We have a collection of this art from countries across the world. You can find our original post about street art here.

Check out our links section below to see more of our stories about public art in countries around the world. Later this year, we’ll open our online store where you can find useful travel products bearing imagery of foreign source street art that’s hard to find unless you’re in the country of origin.

Where to Stay

You’ll find hotels galore in Hattiesburg especially outside of town along route 98 due west of the old city. But here’s our tip for RVer’s.

If you’re a member of the Elks (the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks), you’ll find the magnificent, 1400 acre Elks Lodge #599 about 10 miles south of the city at 212 Elks Lodge Road. You can set up your RV along the 80+ acre fishing lake at campsites with full hookups (for those who are not RVer’s that means electric, water and sewer connections). No reservations are required or taken. But, Call Mike Finch at 601-543-9794 to ensure campsite availability. Rates are quite reasonable and of course, you must be an Elks member to use the facility.

Where to Eat

You’ll find superb dining choices in Hattiesburg. For breakfast, we recommend the Coney Island Cafe. It’s an all cash, no frills, great tasting dining experience downtown next to the railroad tracks across and just up the street from the train station. Nostalgia abounds at this place. You’ll find tons of photos of the Greek immigrant origins of this place. Owner B.J. Fokakis proudly displays and talks about his ancestors and their journey through Ellis Island in New York Harbor and how they ended up in Hattiesburg. But keep your arms down to your side if you speak with B.J. I’m told he’s a championship arm wrestler.

Just outside of town along route 98 in a shopping mall, you’ll find an entirely different dining experience at the Half Shell Oyster House. This representative of a southern seafood restaurant chain offers up a 5-star seafood dining experience. Truly, our encounter here stands among the best food we’ve eaten anywhere over the past 15-years. Yes, you too will want to sample the food at this place once you take a look at the photos of the offerings below.

Coming Up — Sign Up to Keep Up

We’ll return to Hattiesburg later in 2024 to share with you more insights about all this southern city has to offer. 

Would you like to rove with us in 2024? Leave us your name and Email address in the signup box at the footer of this site so we can tell you where we are and what stories we are working on next. Email is the only way we let others know what we’re doing in advance and as it happens. Hey, we’re able to do this now that we’re back from overseas travel!

Things to Do – Visit Hattiesburg, Mississippi


Hattiesburg Street Art Socia Media Tags


Coney Island Cafe


The Half Shell Oyster House


Muralist Erin Ashcraft – Arkansas


Muralist Patrick Cunningham


Tom @ RoverTreks
Tom @ RoverTrekshttps://rovertreks.com
Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences and action. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. Media appearances span television, radio, and dozens of print and online publications over the past 25 years. See TomTalleur.com for more information.

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