Page 27 - South Mississippi Living - August, 2021
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  ARTISTS Bring Color to Downtown Gulfport
  Recently, artists Jerika Broussard and Dara Parker have designed and painted a stunning new mural that highlights some of the best aspects of the local area. Through their collaborative process, something new and beautiful has been brought to the public eye.
The mural by Broussard and Parker is aimed at uplifting the local community. Broussard says, “To me, this mural represents the community. Projects such as these take a team and a collaborative effort.” Teaming up with local organizations and one another, Broussard and Parker have been able to bring to life an image
that represents some of the best Gulfport has to offer.
“The design inspiration came from old greeting postcards
you would see at the souvenir shops while traveling highlighted attractions and must-sees within the city,” said Parker. Together, these two amazingly inspired artists were able to conjure up a vision that encapsulates the heart and soul of the city.
For some artists collaborating can be a challenge, but for these two, the process elevated their talents. Parker says, “We go about the creative process differently. I feel this opened our eyes and helped to push the piece even further than either of us could have gone alone. We would bounce ideas off of each other and get excited about the possibilities. It continued to domino from there.”
Murals such as this one are more than mere paint on the wall. Broussard says it best, “I enjoy being of service to our city and the people in it. Public murals create a sense of community,
lower crime rate, increase tourism, and make an area feel safer. I am most passionate about working on public mural projects to help aid in developing, uplifting the local community and making the area more beautiful.”
Behind every great art project
is an orchestrator who does the necessary and important work to aid the process. In the Gulfport area, Laurie Toups is the local leader that is spearheading the project. She is responsible for reaching out to local businesses and organizations, working directly with artists, collaborating creatively on the vision, and raising funds to incentivize the local projects.
“Laurie Toups and the Gulfport Main Street Association are really all stars to our local community,” says Broussard. “She achieves the impossible and pulls rabbits out of hats. I have a great respect for her, her position, her vision, and her devotion to our community.”
The Gulfport Main Street Association initially started an
art movement years ago with the Fishbone alley mural project. Ever since then, an art movement has been born that stretches across several neighboring cities that Laurie has also aided in fertilizing.
Through the efforts of Toups, Broussard, Parker, and these wonderful local organizations, Gulfport and the surrounding area are being adorned with art. All of these efforts are aimed at improving, strengthening and beautifying the local community.
This mural is located on the north side of the building at 15th St. and Highway 49, which is highly visible as you drive south on Highway 49 into Downtown Gulfport.
August 2021 | 27 Instagram: lovevitality Instagram: mrs_dara_parker

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