What has truly become an Ocean Springs landmark is celebrating a special birthday in a few weeks. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art turns ten years old next month.
Since it opened, the Museum has grown to be considered one of the leading artistic and cultural centers in the Southeast. Although ten years old, the idea for this museum started a long time ago. Clayton Bass is the executive director of the museum. "This museum came about really as a community effort that the friends of Walter Anderson started in 1974, and they believed it was important and it had great value and it said something important about this area,'' Bass says.
How right they were, since it opened, the museum has played host to nearly a quarter of a million visitors. The world nows about the Walter Anderson Museum, in fact, it was even featured in a recent article in the immensely popular Southern Living magazine. Bass says that kind of publicity is something money can't buy. " We recently had a family that had taken their spring break from Arkansas and had come specifically because they saw the article about the museum in Southern Living magazine."
During our visit Thursday afternoon, we found Betty Warren and her friends and family at the museum, like thousands of others over the past ten years, the Tennessee residents had heard about it, and wanted to take a look. Suffice to say, they were impressed with the charm of the museum, and the charm of Ocean Springs. Mrs. Warren says it is a very special place, and dnot just the museum, but Ocean Springs as well. "It still has that small town feel, the quaintness and this is just a perfect complement as far as I am concerned." So, like many visitors, Betty Warren found herself doing some shopping here. The ripple effect the museums presence has had means a lot to area merchants. Jeannie Stevenson knows that, she has owned the gift shop Salmagundi's for the past several years, and has watched her business grow along with the museum. " So, they come to Ocean Springs once again for the museum, but they see the shops and stores, it has been a definite boost we would not want to be without."