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Episode #2903

Ocean Springs Art Walk

Air date 11/13/08
Host: Walt Grayson
Guest(s): Gary Spencer Smith, Fletcher Cox, Stephanie Dwyer

Mississippi Roads glides down the highway to Jackson County and the city of Ocean Springs for the 17th annual Art Walk. They meet a Bay St. Louis man who has shown resiliency of his own in striving to save a very special collection of art, as well as woodorking master craftsman Fletcher Cox and Stephanie Dwyer, featured artist at the Art Walk.

 

The Ocean Springs Art Walk began in 1991 by the chamber of commerce as a way to attract visitors to the downtown shops, galleries and restaurants in the beautiful oak shaded historic area.  The event takes place each year on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend from ten until four.

The only time the festival failed to take place was in 2005 when Katrina struck the coast.  Luckily for Ocean Springs; the downtown business area was not hit nearly as hard as the west coast of Mississippi.  Stores like Hillyer House; which was completely destroyed in Pass Christian, have now found a new home here in Ocean Springs.  The area is now thriving and growing with over one hundred unique shops to explore; thus proving that no natural disaster is going to keep the resilient people of Mississippi down. 

The Art Walk attracts thousands of visitors and shoppers to downtown Ocean Springs to explore the many shops and galleries lined along Washington, Government and the numerous side streets.  One of the main attractions of this event is getting to meet and see the actual artists demonstrating how they create these one of a kind treasures.  You really get to see some amazing talent at this event. 

There is plenty of lagniappe for visitors at the Art Walk here in Ocean Springs.  Drop by the L&N Depot parking lot on Washington Street to experience many more creative local artists and craftsman demonstrating their special skills. This year more than seventy artists participated in the event.  Stephanie Dwyer is the featured artist at the event; she has been commissioned to create a hand-crafted metal art piece based on the work of Walter Anderson for this year’s Art Walk.  The piece will be on permanent display at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce parking lot.

If you tire of the shopping, take a break and enjoy some tasty local cuisine while listening to live music.  Arts, tunes and the natural beauty of the coast is a great way to experience this charming and unique artist community.   

Three years ago, the Mississippi Gulf Coast was devastated beyond belief by Hurricane Katrina.  Anyone who saw first-hand the destruction of that storm would think the progress made in just the three years sense as amazing in a positive direction as the storm was negative.  In Walt Grayson's video essay, "Coasting Back" we see the irrepressible forces of renewal at work in nature and in people.

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Gary Spencer Smith of Bay St. Louis chose to stay at his home during Hurricane Katrina.  One of the main reasons he decided to tempt fate with this life-threatening decision was because he was afraid of losing his recently deceased father’s art work.   

Fletcher Cox is a woodworking master craftsman. From his downtown Jackson studio, he has created one of a kind works of art that use an idea he developed called "Raw and Cooked." The process combines processed wood with natural wood to produce original works for individuals, churches, state buildings and even a piece for the White House.

Stephanie Dwyer is the featured artist at the event; she has been commissioned to create a hand-crafted metal art piece based on the work of Walter Anderson for this year’s Art Walk.  The piece will be on permanent display at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce parking lot. 

 

 

 

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