The recent popularity surrounding the Walter Anderson Museum of Art is drawing thousands of out of state tourists to Downtown Ocean Springs.
Earlier this week, the State Tourism Commission named the museum Mississippi's number one tourism site. Director Marilyn Lyons says much of the credit is due to the attention created by the museum's exhibit on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
"We've had an increase of about ten percent since the exhibit opened," said Lyons. "In January we had 206 more people than we normally would have had."
Many downtown merchants share in the museum's joy.
"We've been absolutely amazed at the number of people that come and enjoy the museum and take their time to go through the town," says Diane Griggs, an employee at Salmagundi Gifts.
Other merchants say they, too, have noticed an increase in the number of tourists visiting the downtown shops.
"People will go to the museum and they'll come and want to have Tato Nut and they'll want to come do a little shopping and just spend the day down here," says Kelly Ennet, a clerk at the Out of the Blue Design Studio. "It's made it great for the businesses."