Going Inside: Ocean Springs Community Center

Ocean Springs Community CenterSome buildings are so amazing on the outside that you feel compelled to get inside and look around. And then there’s the Ocean Springs Community Center, a concrete-block building with aspirations of Colonial Revival, completed in 1950. But walk inside, through the attached Walter Anderson Museum of Art, and WOW!!!

“Mural” doesn’t seem quite the right word to describe the riot of color and drama you will find, painted by Walter Anderson (1903-1965) right onto the cinder-block walls. Here’s what Patty Carr Black says about the community center’s “breathtaking” interior in her Art in Mississippi (1998):

When the Ocean Springs Community Center was built in 1950, Anderson offered to paint murals on the interior walls. It was, his wife wrote, “an artist’s contribution to the community.” He signed a contract for one dollar and spent fifteen months at the task, sometimes harassed by members of the community. Completed in 1952 and covering almost three thousand square feet, the mural has two themes: one wall depicts the historic landing at Ocean Springs of the French colonist, Iberville, in 1699, and the others the “seven climates” or astrological seasons of the coastal area, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the sun, all represented by the flora and fauna of the region (p. 198).

You could spend hours immersed in Anderson’s gift, and  winter is the perfect time to spend a weekend on the Coast, so head down to Ocean Springs and check out this little hidden gem.



Categories: Ocean Springs

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4 replies

  1. I had no idea! This is amazing.

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  2. A hidden treasure for sure! Hopefully someone doesn’t get the idea to paint over it!

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    • The story is that it was not appreciated when new and that almost happened. The recent restoration work repaired a lot of damage that you would expect to see on the walls of any community center, removing staples and tape adhesive that held decorations, soot from candles and cigarettes, and stains from spills and hands touching the walls for many years. The before and after transformation was really incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The people of the Coast have worked hard to showcase this treasure and held many fundraisers for it. No one will paint over it.

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