Walt's Look Around: Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

George Ohr tried his hand at several trades before being introduced to the potters wheel. After which his hands could always be found there, turning out prolific amounts of cups and bowls and pots and things for everyday use and things to sell to the tourists who thronged to the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the turn of the 20th century. But then Ohr also created a multitude of special pieces. Strictly decorative and strictly art. For which no one had any use for.

Denny Mecham: He was almost angry that it didn't always, that it was not always received. The way he wanted it to be.

Walt: So George Ohr carefully packed away all of his unsold wares and closed his Biloxi pottery shop about a century ago. Only to be rediscovered in the 1970s by a much more accepting world of art. Which is why he has a museum, now, and isn't totally forgotten. Denny Mecham is the Executive Director of the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.

Denny Mecham: Any, any artist who steps out of what they know of what is around them, of what they've been taught, and somehow finds a whole different path to take, we are always fascinated. So George Ohr, who knows where his ideas came from, what nurtured his move to a very modern aesthetic.

Walt: With George Ohr's daring creations in mind comes the buildings in which the Ohr Museum is housed, the designs for which were created by architect Frank Gehry. Far from just boxes with roofs. Like Ohr, Gehry tried many other career paths. Drove a truck for a while. Even took pottery. And his instructors suggested he try architecture, for which he his now world famous and the Ohr museum is appropriately one of his creations.

Denny Mecham: But I think what's fascinating about Frank Gehry as well, it's just like George Ohr, where does that spark of creativity and imagination come from?

Walt: Moreover, who might be inspired to think out of the box about their own lives as we all mould them on our own wheel after we see what people like potter George Ohr and Architect Frank Gehry have created with their talents, when we visit the partially open Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.

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