Preserve America Community:
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, (population 17,246) is located on the Gulf Coast. The site was discovered in 1699 by French Canadian Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, who established Fort Maurepas on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay.
Today’s Fort Maurepas serves as a seven-acre historic landmark and a venue for city events, including the annual reenactment of the 1699 Landing of d’Iberville, complete with period costumes portraying French and Native Americans, and a boat landing at the Indian village. A revitalization project will include new structures on an outline of the original fort footprint, a pavilion, a children’s spray park, and a play structure in the form of an old wooden ship.
In 1928, artist Peter Anderson founded Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs. His brothers, painter Walter Anderson and painter/ceramist James Anderson, also influenced the city’s cultural environment as their artistic works gained international acclaim. Walter Anderson is the only Mississippi artist to have had an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.
During 1950 and 1951, Walter Anderson began work on the now famous murals of the Ocean Springs Community Center. With an estimated value of $27 million, the murals depict the history of Ocean Springs: the d’Iberville Landing, Native Americans, and Gulf Coast flora and fauna.
The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Arts Center, located in the historic 1827 Ocean Springs Public School Building, offers a variety of artistic activities, including a recording studio, visual and performing arts studios, and a theater. The Walter Anderson Museum, opened in 1991, exhibits the art of all three Anderson brothers, including watercolors, drawings, oils, block prints, ceramics, and carvings.
Every year, Ocean Springs sponsors the Peter Anderson Festival, a nationally recognized, two-day event attended by 80,000 to 100,000 arts and crafts enthusiasts and featuring more than 300 vendors.
For more information
City of Ocean Springs: www.ci.ocean-springs.ms.us
Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce: www.oceanspringschamber.com
Posted May 27, 2009