Ohr's Descendants Tour Museum Construction Site - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/30/05

Ohr's Descendants Tour Museum Construction Site

The highly anticipated Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art is taking shape in Biloxi. Tuesday, descendants of "The Mad Potter" took a hard hat tour of the site. They were joined by a group that found a way to let you become a permanent part of this Frank Gehry work of art.

"I just never dreamed it was going to be so big," George Ohr's Great Granddaughter Mary Moran said as she surveyed the construction site.

As the Moran sisters toured the museum that bears their great-grandfather's name, they laughed about how excited their 98-year-old grandmother was at the thought of a museum in her Daddy's name.

"You know, she was conceiving this little bitty small, tiny place with maybe some of George Ohr's pots. If she could only see this now, wow. This is awesome. This is awesome," Ohr's Great Granddaughter Lucinda Moran said.

C.O. Fowler says the Frank Gehry design is the biggest challenge he's ever faced in his 52 years of high-end construction.

"Not only is the outside wall turned and twisted, but the inside walls turn and twist also. At times, you've only got 11 inches of wall space. At other times, you've got 15. It's according to how it swerves in," Fowler, of Yates Construction, said.

From the graceful swerves of the Ohr Pods, you see the contrast of the heavy steel beams that will make the African American Art building.

The ceramic center that's taking the shape now climbs into the live oaks, offering a breath taking, squirrel's eye view, just like Frank Gehry envisioned.

"This is really the most significant event in the southeastern part of the United States, maybe the country. Just to have the George Ohr Museum here, coupled with Frank Gehry. It is so exciting," Ohr Museum Brick Committee member Ellie Vasilopoulos said.

Vasilopoulos and her Brick Committee thought of a way to let everyone in South Mississippi become intimately involved in this giant work of art.

"We're going to be selling bricks in the atrium, the shoe fly and the entire plaza area. So this is an opportunity for everyone to participate and have their names permanently engraved in the George Ohr Museum. We want everybody on the coast and the state of Mississippi to become a part of this."

To order a personally engraved brick, you can go to or call the George Ohr Museum of Art in Biloxi at (228) 374-5547. A limited number of bricks will go on sale April 19th.

The Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art opens July 12, 2006. The day would have been George Ohr's 149th birthday.

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