Greetings from Horn Island.
When I became director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, the first thing I did was venture out to this wilderness island of dune and vine, floating in the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico off the Mississippi coast.
I've been welcomed and embraced by the local community, for which I am grateful. Just as I was grateful for the welcome I received to Horn Island, an escort of playful dolphins, a multitude of butterflies alighting on golden blooms.
This is new frontier for me, but it's been explored many times before, most notably by artist Walter Anderson, who found here a spiritual home and inspiration. Among the animals, plants, lagoons, marshy woods, and atop the shifting sands.
When he was here it was a departure from the rigid paradigms of modern life. But it was not an escape from the world, but a search for a fuller connection to it. Because we all share this place together. You, I, the butterfly, the osprey, the falcon. The oyster, the jellyfish, the rabbit, your neighbor around the way, and the forest itself.
When I look out from this island at night I can see the lights of Biloxi, but I'm looking from nature, not at it. The value of this change in perspective, this way of seeing, is not stranded on the island. It's made accessible and available to all because of the art that Walter made. That art is housed and exhibited at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs. It invites visitors to be inspired through creative self-expression. To look at their surroundings with curious and humble eyes, that they might also look upon their fellows with increased understanding. And it empowers communities to realize the elemental values of nature; among them, innovation, collaboration, and resilience. With which we can fulfill the dynamic and life-giving possibilities of human society.
New and beautiful worlds beckon. That's where we're headed. I trust you'll explore them with us.
- Julian Rankin