Walter Anderson's Artwork Takes The Stage

The music inspired by the works of a famous coast artist is headed to the nation's capital. As part of Walter Anderson's 100th birthday celebration choreographers, composers, and singers have adapted his paintings into dance, music and song. The show will make its Washington, D.C. debut on Friday at the Smithsonian Institute as part of the Anderson exhibit already there.

The sounds of the show echo what producer Lester Senter felt the first time she walked into a part the Walter Anderson museum called "The Little Room."

"Somehow the magic of that little room just spoke to me," said Senter. "I felt this tremendous desire, this tremendous connection with Walter Anderson."

Five years later there is another "Little Room" which is a dance interpretation by the students of Belhaven College.

Amy McIntosh is the choreographer.

"It is a challenge just to see Anderson's artwork come alive in the movement and then the music and find that as a fit with the music and the dance and images all together," she said.

For the original music, composer Coleman Pierce listened to his inner voice hoping to find the harmony to transform Anderson's paint strokes into musical notes.

"I read a lot about Walter Anderson, and I wonder what sort music might satisfy him as a balance or an invocation of his painterly art. I wait for something to come into my head," he said.

Along with Anderson, Senter has brought the literature of Eudora Welty to the stage.

"What they have is such an incredible talent and if you as an artist know how to respond to that, it will awaken in you the creativity and the imagination," said Senter. "It inspires you and it inspires you to be better than you are or to think bigger than you could possibly think and I think that's what happened with Walter Anderson's art."

The show's name "Robinson and Friends" comes from a children's story that Walter Anderson wrote. After the Smithsonian "Robinson and Friends" will head to Washington D.C.'s Phillips museum. Then the production will run in Memphis through April.