WAMA's new director excited about museum's future - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

WAMA's new director excited about museum's future

By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The new director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs says she is getting more comfortable every day in her new job.

Linda Bloom accepted the job in the fall of last year. Her husband recently became the rabbi for a synagogue in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, so Linda has been commuting to Ocean Springs for a week or more out of every month.

Her long career in the arts has led to jobs as a museum curator, gallery director, and art historian. She comes to Ocean Springs from her most recent job in Sacramento, California.

"I love this job," Bloom said with a big smile on her face.

Although her career has taken her around the country, Linda had never been to the Mississippi Gulf Coast until she interviewed for the job at WAMA.  Instantly, she knew she had a connection with this special place.  

"I have always loved small community living and especially charming architecture and I found that here," she said.

As director, much of what she does involves getting the message out about Walter Anderson and his body of work. She pointed out that's one of the main reasons she came here, so she can tell the story of this extraordinary artist.

"I think we need to continue to do a better job of getting that message out," she said during our recent interview. "We can only do that if we take the work here in Ocean Springs and move that out to other communities, other art institutions."

She cites a Walter Anderson exhibit at the Smithsonian a few years ago as a great example of that. As WAMA gets ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, Bloom knows there are challenges that lie ahead, but she sees those challenges as opportunities.

For instance, much of Walter Anderson's work remains in storage simply because there is not enough space to display it all at the museum. She is confident that one day, the museum will expand, which will give them the opportunity to offer so much more to visitors.

"I also would like to see and envision a wonderful education center," she said. "That way, we can use those spaces to tell the story, to bring in children to teach them about Walter's work, and inspire them to not only necessarily become artists, but to say that you can do anything."

More than anything else, Linda Bloom wants the people of the coast, as well as this region, to know WAMA is their museum.

She also lauded what she called the "wonderful" volunteers who help every day. Bloom said they welcome anyone who would like to volunteer to please contact the museum by calling 228) 872-3164 or sending an email to WAMA@WalterAndersonMuseum.org.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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