George Walter Anderson of New Orleans and his wife Annette moved to Ocean Springs, Miss., with their three sons, two of whom would leave a mark on the small Coastal Mississippi town. Walter Anderson took to visual arts while Peter Anderson experimented with clays, studying under established potters and opening a studio he named “Shearwater,” the name taken from a book on North American birds. Walter would join him in the business for a while and become famous for his block prints, watercolors, murals and other artwork. Peter’s Shearwater studio continues to this day.

Ocean Springs honors both men, Walter Anderson with a museum and Peter Anderson with an annual fête, the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival, to be Nov. 5-6 throughout town. 

The annual Anderson festival and Coastal Mississippi’s continually evolving art scene and its museums, galleries and special events make for an ideal weekend getaway. 

Plus, there’s always the beach.

 

Stay

New to Ocean Springs is the charming Hemingway boutique hotel on the second floor of a historic bank building on Washington Street in the heart of town. There’s only a handful of rooms but each one comes filled with cool furnishings, original artwork and fun things to eat such as Puff & Floss cotton candy. Bring comfortable shoes because practically everything is within walking distance of this charming hotel.

Art Museums

Ocean Springs is home to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art which showcases the artist’s work, including the exquisite “Little Room,” Anderson’s art studio that was moved intact to the museum from his residence. Peter Anderson’s Shearwater Pottery still creates distinctive pottery and visitors may watch current potters in action. The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi is filled with immersive exhibits, educational experiences and a strong focus on ceramic arts, named for George E. Ohr, known in his time as the “Mad Potter of Biloxi.” 

Art Galleries

There are 140 unique things to experience within walking distance in Ocean Springs, according to Cynthia Sutton, executive director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. And that includes a host of art galleries. The town’s a haven for regional artists as well, with approximately 300 artist members in the Ocean Springs Art Association. Bay St. Louis acts as Ocean Springs’ sister city in art, bookending the opposite end of the Mississippi Coast. In between, visitors will find the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi, promoting the artistic legacy of Dusti Bongé, Mississippi’s first Abstract Expressionist painter, and the Gulfport Galleries of Fine Art, among many more. 

Public Art

In addition to art galleries and museums, coastal Mississippi offers numerous public art installations, from large-scale murals adorning downtown buildings to unique beach-front sculptures carved from trees damaged by hurricanes. Check out tourism’s extensive list of public art pieces and head out to view them by visiting www.gulfcoast.org/blog/post/public-art-in-coastal-mississippi.

Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival

This annual arts festival has been recognized as “Festival of the Year” by Southeast Tourism Society, “Southern Traveler Treasure” by AAA Southern Traveler’s Magazine and “Best Special Event” by Mississippi Main Street. About 400 artistic vendors will fill Ocean Springs streets along with live music, food and special events. The annual festival has grown to become the largest fine arts festival in the state, according to Sutton, attracting thousands to the area. For more information, visit  peterandersonfestival.com.