Some 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