Ohr-O'Keefe Rising Again

A shiny aluminum panel is hoisted above the limbs of the live oaks.

"I've got to get over there and get these tightened too," said a worker with a giant wrench, as a crane worked overhead

Forty foot high sections will form the peculiar pods that architect Frank Gehry envisioned.

"It's a rebirth. And we're very excited about it," said museum board president Larry Clark.

"I've got sixty seven and a quarter," said a worker with a tape measure, as another metal section was carefully lowered into place.

The Kansas City firm that molded the giant pieces, will oversee their connection. Museum leaders decided the bright, oddly shaped pods were the perfect place to begin.

"When completed, they will be the Ohr gallery, where George Ohr's pottery will be displayed. But one of the main reasons for pushing to get these up now is the economic development of the coast. We need reasons for people to come here," said Clark.

The museum campus will be rebuilt in phases, with a contract awarded next month. Frank Gehry always envisioned a museum that would "dance among the trees."

A public celebration will happen on site, December first.

"The Gulf Coast symphony youth orchestra will be here playing. And we're going to have dancers from several places dancing with the trees. And people will get to explore the pods. We'll actually have guided tours inside the pods," said museum director Marjie Gowdy.

The Mad Potter himself had a personal experience rebounding from adversity. When fire destroyed his pottery studio in 1894, George Ohr began rebuilding it just a few days later.

"It's certainly about the arts. It's about history and culture and always has been. But it's about economic development. It's about giving people reasons to come back to the coast," said Clark.

Besides the December first event, the public is also invited to a clean-up day this Saturday, November 10th.

Anyone who'd like to help out should show-up here with rakes and wheel barrows Saturday morning at eight.