HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – A new mural celebrates education at Hawkins Elementary School in Hattiesburg.

Students were allowed to meet with the artist of the “We Are the Future” mural to learn about the process and the theme of the mural. Sergio Arce, the artist, said art helped him through tough times.

“It’s just been a great vehicle for me growing up. It’s helped me with my mental health. I have ADHD, so it’s kind of helped me focus on certain tasks. It’s just been a wonderful thing for me in my experience,” he explained.

The mural is meant to highlight the diversity of children from the area.

“I thought the mural was amazing. I’d like to thank Sergio for doing it,” said Kalyse McDonald, one of the students.

Mayor Toby Barker said he wants to see more projects like this.

“Just as you see in this mural where one church adopted and helped invest in this one project, I think every church should adopt a school in Hattiesburg. If every church adopted a school and poured their resources into the children, it would totally transform our school district and transform our community,” said Barker.

This is the 33rd mural in the City of Hattiesburg. The goal of the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art is to turn Hattiesburg into the City of 100 Murals by 2025.