Expansion at WAMA will mean big things in 2013 - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Expansion at WAMA will mean big things in 2013

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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Museums are usually places of quiet repose and reflection. That's not quite the picture these days at the Walter Anderson Museum with the sounds of saws and hammers in the background.  

An expansion project that began in August is well underway. A 2,000 square foot addition will include two new galleries, a new gift shop, and an interactive auditorium.

The expansion takes into account everything the late artist held dear. 

"That's what Walter Anderson was all about is reflecting nature in his art," project architect Dennis Cowart said. "The pickle pine finishes and the way the natural light comes into the museum is intended to just kind of support that idea that he had."

Because of construction, and a hard to find back entrance, attendance was down slightly this year from the average of 25,000 visitors. With the new additions, museum officials are certain the number of out of town visitors will go back up.

"We also want to draw back the community as well," WAMA Executive Director Rosemary Roosa said. "The Walter Anderson Museum is a large part of the Ocean Springs community, but it's a big part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast community and we hope to keep the community involved."

Once the new additions open up at the end of January, that's where the marketing department comes in. Their main goal is to get the word out that the Walter Anderson Museum of Art is open for business again, and is better than ever. 

"We also hope to have more opportunities like this on the news and well as public radio and other print publications to really reach everyone and let them know about the new things," WAMA Marketing Director Amelia Halstead said. "We're also really ramping up our social media campaign. We have a new Facebook page. We do have a Twitter account, so we hope to reach as many people as possible." 

The cost of the new additions to the museum is $700,000 and was funded with a grant from the tourism division of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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