Stone County named state’s mural county

Published 2:25 pm Friday, May 4, 2012

Stone County is now the “Mural County of Mississippi.”

Twenty-three murals — some painted, some made of mosaic tile — are located around the county and tell the stories of the area’s ecosystem, people, notable landmarks and industries.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 643 was passed by the Senate and House in April. Local officials are planning a mural celebration in June.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“(The murals) are the way to tell the story when the storytellers are not there,” Sandra Cassibry, an art instructor at the Perkinston campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, told the Sun Herald.

The project was launched about eight years ago.

Cassibry, along with her students and coast artist Elizabeth Veglia, helped create the six mosaic tile murals at Blaylock Park, which depict the longleaf pine, Red Creek, the pickle industry, the timber industry, the train depot and the county courthouse.

The courthouse mural, completed in April, is the county’s latest piece and the last to be displayed in Blaylock Park. More than a dozen of the painted murals, including those in the school, libraries and welcome center, were created by Hattiesburg artist Kym Garraway.

Grants are pending for two future mural projects, said Kathryn Lewis, director of the Telling Trees Project, an organization focused on documenting and celebrating the county’s history. Lewis said the designation may help bring more grant dollars for future projects and increased tourist attention to Stone County.

“This helps us promote tourism,” said Jay Paul Gumm, executive director of the Stone County Economic Development Partnership. “The designation by the Legislature gives us another tool in that toolkit.”

“Hopefully people will drive up to Stone County and visit and spend a little money while they’re there,” said Sen. Tony Smith, R-Picayune, the resolution’s author.

Gumm said the Stone County EDP is working on getting official signage for each mural and creating a visitors’ brochure. He said the organization has invested about $15,000 for the mural project over the last several years.