Art + Exchange Stone County

August 30, 2018

Wednesday, Aug. 30 | Wiggins, Miss. ... CAPE joined forces with the City of Wiggins, Stone County, and Stone County Economic Development Partnership to gather public input as part of the Art + Exchange Story-Gathering Tour. This research serves as part of Phase 1 of a new program of place-based artist residencies that will fund community-engaged artworks across Mississippi.


Participants shared their opinions on the past, present, and future of the community. This input will be utilized in Phase 2 of the residency program, when Mississippi artists will be invited to propose specific project ideas that address narratives raised by the public.


Development and Economic Access


"Wiggins has the greatest community college in the world."



  • In the middle of everything; diverse; great family friendly location

  • Peaceful; solid; high quality of life

  • 1950s pickle capital of U.S.; superb community college

  • Great place to raise your children; Southern hospitality; good schools

  • Blaylock Park: how it has evolved and its benefits

  • As a new resident, clearly visible street signs

  • I was told Wiggins was a great place to live because it was easy to get out of; we have a lot of potential because of our central coastal location

  • Quiet; country roads; birds; cows; tractors; friends; waving; green trees, grass; understated; creeks

  • The Frosty Mug: I feel like a lot of people may not know about it

  • There is work to be done in keeping “small town” thriving (tourism, etc.)

  • There is not much to do and not many places to eat

  • Litter; never encountered so much

  • Future business; more things to do

  • More employment; community involvement in school libraries, art; higher ambitions; beautification and care

  • There could be some type of entertainment built; something to keep people entertained if they’re bored

  • More industry for the job market; new schools; more recreation for young people

  • At one time, nine mills were operating

  • No movies; drive-in closed in ’75

  • HOME Vocational School



  • Job training

  • Tourism development

  • County and city working together

  • The expansion of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; the school is getting bigger for more students to be able to attend

  • Growth in retail

  • Additional beautification of city and county

  • Create the job market to keep our children here; less politics in different areas

  • Get more younger people involved in community affairs; bring in more business

  • Share sports areas so all can enjoy and participate


Community Narrative


"The people, by far, are the best thing about Stone County."



  • The people are what makes it great; friends, family, and community; I have always loved Stone County; I … would leave and long to be here

  • People come together for events and to help one another; good stories of events/history

  • Wiggins is a community of sharing, positive people; people seem to enjoy being here

  • Sixth generation family in residence

  • It’s my second home; It reminds me a little bit of Pascagoula, just a little smaller and not as much water, but I really feel at home here

  • We need more things for people (especially young ones) to do

  • Disconnect between college and community; disconnect between larger community and participation in culture

  • Talent migration outwards; a lot of our brightest and best choose to shine elsewhere

  • We have a story that needs to be told; many stories actually

  • Could have broader outreach to other communities and community members who we haven’t reached with our stories/performances

  • Pickle, People, Pepper, Pine (old billboard)

  • Lack extended vision for county; When there is an extended vision, we don’t execute it

  • Lack of community organizations (Rotary, etc.)



  • Cooperative between a lot of organizations


The Arts


"If anything can join us together, it's going to be art."



  • We have a lot of creative people here; We have a beautiful potential in old downtown; It worked for Ocean Springs and it worked for the Bay; It could work for us

  • Redstone Pine Hill (street)

  • Community art center used to be a dairy barn

  • We have basket making, vocal artists, wood turning…



  • Get the word out about our love for the arts

  • More art on public buildings; build love of art in our children and youth

  • Growth of county-wide art programs

  • A continued and expanding art scene, including musicians and theater

  • Become an arts destination


Diversity and Equity


“If we're going to live in Stone County and say it represents all people, then it should represent all people."




  • Hard to find housing at first

  • Meth; ignorance; dilapidated trailers; skinny, mangy dogs; tied up pitbulls; too many cats

  • History, diversity, and race; afraid of change; afraid to think outside the box

  • Until recently, an all-white board for Economic Development

  • Locker High (historically black school)

  • RACE – I feel like we have to have that conversation. It’s uncomfortable. Can’t tiptoe around it.

  • Self-segregated churches, school lunchrooms

  • “Pine Hill Day is for white folks”

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