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From The Director
For the past three years the Walter Anderson Museum of Art has been involved in an exciting undertaking funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program. This project focused on Horn Island, the work of Walter Inglis Anderson, and its connections with the rich natural environment of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An educational initiative developed to enrich the lives of students across the state, this project has had many successes and included many components and many collaborators.
It has been a journey for everyone involved, a journey that is culminating in this remarkable exhibition. There are many to acknowledge and thank. First the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors for selecting the museum’s CIAP project for a grant. Elizabeth Barber who is the CIAP coordinator of DEQ has provided support and guidance for more than three years. From late 2003 into early 2005 Connie Moran served as the project consultant. Beverly Alexander has developed and written an outstanding curriculum which is being provided to all Mississippi school libraries that serve students in grades 3 through 6.
There have been many collaborators and advisors but we wish to especially thank those who worked with us on this exhibition: NASA/NOAA staff at Stennis Space Center, the National Park Service/Gulf Islands National Seashore, USM J.L. Scott Marine Education Center/Gulf Coast Research Lab, and our colleagues at the Mississippi Natural Science Museum. This exhibit contains the work of Walter Inglis Anderson from the museum’s permanent collection, and on loan to the Museum from Dr. & Mrs. Christopher Hogan (The Hogan Collection) and from the family of Walter Anderson. We also wish to thank the artists who have added their work to Walter’s: Donald Bradburn, Stig Marcussen, Chris Stebly, and Steve White.
Revisit the Island as it Was
Revisit the island as it was in the mid-20th century through Walter Anderson’s watercolors and Donald Bradburn’s photographs. Much of the island scenery and wildlife has a timeless quality to it that is still seen in the more recent work of Stig Marcussen, Chris Stebly, and Steve White, whose work round out this exhibit of watercolors, oils, journals, and photography.
Pelicans, raccoons and egrets peer out from the corners of the galleries having made their way from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, and satellite images of Horn Island before and after Katrina from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration take their place in the galleria. Information from the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Gulf Coast Research Lab further illustrate the views of other scientists and naturalists.
In many ways, this is exactly the kind of exhibition that Walter Anderson would have liked. It presents many moments of “realization,” and showcases the myriad “ways of seeing” that he used. Being a naturalist himself, Anderson professed to being an artist “who prefers nature to art.” His endless lists of birds, and drawings of cloud formations, and attention to the details of life on the island seem to bring dual emphasis to his work. His love of the island and its rich resource for discovery never seemed to be exhausted and continues through all these artists. They continue to find Horn Island a theatrical stage on which the comedies and tragedies of its actor inhabitants are played out in endless seasonal acts.
Featuring: Walter Inglis Anderson & Donald Bradburn, Stig Marcussen,Chris Stebly & Steve White
Walter Anderson & Horn Island
Walter Anderson loved water. He felt that it was the primal element of feeling and that he became one with all things when his senses were blended with water.
During the last 15 years of his life, he went to Horn Island often finding the solitude he so needed. We don’t know how many trips he made rowing approximately 10 miles from shore to island, crossing the Mississippi Sound in both fair and foul weather. But it was here, in this still, wilderness area that he did his clearest thinking, had his greatest insights on the relationship between man and nature, and reveled in the emotions of courage and love the have “united to make me happy and alive in this place.”
He usually camped just west of the center of the island using his boat turned upside down for shelter from rain, gnats and mosquitoes. He described the flora and fauna as “an embarrassment of riches” where he was “to be the servant and slave of all the elements.”
He shared his food with the creatures and particular animals became his friends with names like “Reddy” and “Inky.” He put up with any inconvenience to get close to birds or animals to paint them – wading into murky pools, crawling through paths made by wild pigs and meeting moccasin or alligator, balancing on the limb of a tree to see into a nest, walking neck deep in water to join the pelicans, or crouching in bulrushes to find the ducks.
The island became the stage, the creatures were the actors and he, also an actor, did “dramatic paintings”of the tragicomedy of life. He recorded the events in 90 logbooks documenting these remarkable encounters. The images were potent, intense – perhaps meant only for the one who was there to grasp them in the fleeting moment. Sharing such insights was questionable, he said, others might not grasp their singularity. He noted, though, that these images appeared with surprising regularity on Horn Island.
To celebrate our newest exhibition, Horn Island: World of Space and Form, WAMA takes you to the island for an exciting expedition. For the kids, we have a very special program–we bring the island to them!
Schooner Trip to Horn Island
Leaves Saturday, October 14, for a 7-hour sail departing from Ocean Springs Harbor at 8 a.m. Cost is $55 for WAMA members and $75 for non-members and includes a delicious box lunch from Bayview Gourmet, along with other snacks and drinks. We’ll meet 7 a.m. at the museum for a shuttle to the Ocean Springs harbor and arrive back at 3 p.m. (Note to teachers: scholarships available, plus CEU credits– call for details.)
Horn Island for Kids
Sunday,November 19 at 2p.m.
Activities include story telling with nature puppets and Gulf Islands National Seashore Park Wildlife Discovery
(free with price of admission).To make reservations for either of these amazing events,
call the museum at (228) 872-3164.
OCTOBER 19th: Oktoberfest meets Art Pumpkins- new jack -o- lantern ideas and beer tasting
DECEMBER 21st: Create your own Christmas ornament, toy drive (half price admission with toy)
NOVEMBER 4: An Evening of the Arts in Autumn
WAMA THEATER SHOW: RED STRING THEATER PRESENTS “TINDERBOX”
Sunday, October 15th, shows at 1:00 and 3:00 pm