Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

The Mind Boggling Murals Of Walter Anderson

Monday May 13, 2013
Site 19, Davis Bayou Campground
Ocean Springs, Mississippi



When I walk through the wide doorway into the community center which adjoins the museum, the site is so overwhelming tears come to my eyes.



This room is one of the most magnificent works of art I have ever experienced in my life.  I hope you can take your time and look at the amazing details in these murals.   But before I get into the photographs, some background

The town of Ocean Springs built a new community Center in 1950.  It was made of cinder block and the three thousand square feet of wall were unpainted.  Walter Anderson had strong opinions about the artist’s obligation to society and society’s to the artist.  In 1951, He offered to create a mural for the fee of one dollar plus expenses.   That just makes my jaw drop; the town received this precious gift for $1.   The walls are now valued at over $30M.

As you can see the windows are big and the light is bright so my camera distance pictures cannot possibly give a true picture of how overwhelming this place is.  The close ups are much sharper and stunning.  But they don’t give the feel of standing here looking around at this incredible mural.

This picture shows my view when I walk through the opening into the room.  For a long time, I just stand there.  I am awe struck.  I have never seen anything like this. 


Walter Anderson Museum 148A


These pillars are in front of the doorway between the community center and the museum.  The dark opening to the left of the far mural is the stage.  The railing tops a plexiglas shield to protect the art from damage.  I’ve started the pictorial tour at that far end mural and on clockwise around the room.


Walter Anderson Museum 083A

Walter Anderson Museum 084A



Anderson used oil paint applied directly to the stucco surface to achieve a fresco-like effect. 

The mural celebrates the area’s natural environment, its flora and fauna as well as the history of Ocean Springs .  It depicts the Native American culture of the Biloxi Indians and the landing in 1699 of French Explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville.  Look for the man standing in a boat with the landing party.  Anderson painted himself into the scene wearing the grey felt hat he always wore.. 


Walter Anderson Museum 090A


Walter Anderson Museum 088A 



Walter Anderson Museum 089A



This opening from the museum is just to the right of the Biloxi Indian in the photo above. 


Can you imagine being served food at a community gathering within this multi million dollar piece of art.  WOW!


Walter Anderson Museum 096A


Walter Anderson Museum 091A


Walter Anderson Museum 093A


Walter Anderson Museum 094A


Walter Anderson Museum 095A   



Sieur d’Iberville, the French explorer, is just to the left of the window, his party, just to the right.


Walter Anderson Museum 097A


Walter Anderson Museum 100A


 Walter Anderson Museum 099A

Walter Anderson Museum 098A




These are the details around the far entry wall window the edge of which is shown above.


Walter Anderson Museum 103

Walter Anderson Museum 104




This end wall opposite the stage is filled with pelicans, Anderson’s favorite bird.


Walter Anderson Museum 105A


Walter Anderson Museum 106A




This second half of the room beginning at the far wall and going back around to the stage is filled with local flora and fauna.


The above sections are to the left of this door.  The sections following this picture are to the right.


Walter Anderson Museum 109A 



Do you see the flying squirrel  and the owl??

Walter Anderson Museum 112A


Walter Anderson Museum 110A 


Cats were also a favorite of Anderson’s and he made several ceramic molds of cats which are still produced today and sell for between $500 and $700.   We saw some lovely ones at the pottery and one was purchased while we were there. 


Walter Anderson Museum 113A



Walter Anderson Museum 116




These details are below and to the right of the window shown in the picture above.


Walter Anderson Museum 118

Walter Anderson Museum 119A



Walter Anderson Museum 120


Walter Anderson Museum 121




This section is said to have been inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “The Dalliance of Eagles.


Walter Anderson Museum 123


Walter Anderson Museum 125




Walter Anderson Museum 127A 

Walter Anderson Museum 128A


Walter Anderson Museum 130


Walter Anderson Museum 132


Walter Anderson Museum 133




This tree climbing black bear has bees buzzing around his nose. 


Walter Anderson Museum 134A  


Walter Anderson Museum 136A


Walter Anderson Museum 137



Is this a great alligator or what? 

Walter Anderson Museum 139A



Walter Anderson Museum 141A




This is the final corner approaching the last section and the stage.

All of the door decorations are similar but different.  The creativity is astounding.


Walter Anderson Museum 143A


Is this my rufous sided towhee or a red winged blackbird hanging out with the cute bunny?  We found all of them abundant at our campsite in Davis Bayou only a few miles from the museum.


Walter Anderson Museum 142A



The final wall next to the stage.


Walter Anderson Museum 145



Walter Anderson Museum 146A 



We are actually here in this glorious place!  What a day!!  I am SO happy to have had this experience.  But my pictures do not begin to do it justice.  If you are in the area you must see it for yourselves. 


Walter Anderson Museum 153


Walter Anderson Museum 150A 



I have one more room to show you.  It’s Walter Anderson’s personal space from his cottage.  No one saw it until it was discovered after his death in 1965.   But that’s yet another post on this one day at the Walter Anderson Museum.


*the previous post on the other works of Walter Anderson displayed in the museum can be read by clicking WALTER.  The post on the Anderson family and their Shearwater Pottery is here if you have not read it and would like to.


  1. It's hard to believe one man had all this in his mind and could create it with his art. I can only imagine what it must be like to view it in person. I love the birds.

  2. I was also astonished to be in this room where this great artist spent more than a year of his life to share his vision though his painting. What a gift! His paintings convey his love of and communion with the natural world better than so many words. Given his desire to be one with nature it is even more incredible that he could spend an entire year working indoors for this gift to the community.

  3. That is truly beautiful!!! what a great thing to get to see!!!

  4. I'm sure that your pictures don't do it justice. The colors in there must be beautiful. It's a must see for sure!

  5. Wow is right. Anderson's passion for nature must have been intense. My favorite panels are those with pelicans and cranes, plus the Whitman-inspired images. It is inspiring not only to see his work, but also to learn about his generous spirit.

  6. Whitman's generosity makes the artwork even more beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful visit with us:o))

  7. Just stunning! Thanks so much for sharing. This is a must see for us now!

  8. You were so lucky to be able to view these murals at length, and without the distraction of tables and chairs, and floral arrangements. Indeed an amazing mural that requires slow-viewing to appreciate the details. I am really looking forward to the "personal space" as it was not available for viewing when we were there.

  9. Wow, what an amazing room. I just looked at your pictures again on my laptop because the phone sure didn't do them justice. Beautiful.

  10. What an amazing work of art!
    I see you are now at Prairie Creek. That is where we spent our first two night as fulltimers.

  11. It is almost incomprehensible that one man's mind could design and paint these murals. Thank goodness they are inside where they are protected from the elements.

    You should have bought a couple of those ceramic cats, they'd look good on your dashboard with Ducky! :cD

  12. This is beautiful. Thank you so much for the tour.

  13. Wow - seeing such creativity and talent in person can be amazing. The colors and fluid lines swirl together into quite a mural. I can't believe he painted it for $1 and now it is worth so much. I am so glad you got to see that!! I liked all the animals, especially the cats ;)


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