Recently, Ocean Springs seventh grader Carter Denison came by the Museum on a job-shadowing assignment. We could have showed him how to handle artworks (with gloves and great care), how to create a non-profit budget (woohoo!), or the intricacies of grant writing. Instead, we asked him what he was interested in, which turned out to be storytelling and media production.
As we often say around here, art education is not necessarily about raising up the next generation of artists. It's a tool for agency and self-expression, teaching students to practice skills of perspective and imagination. Carter (who has on his own accord begun writing a comic book series involving Anderson, his cat, and a magic paintbrush) decided it would be a worthwhile exercise to imagine what might happen if Walter Anderson were to return for a bike ride through modern day Ocean Springs.
In true museum fashion, we began with the collection; namely, Anderson's own bicycle, a historical object that holds thousands of miles of stories from the artist's long-range excursions. From there, we storyboarded Walter's contemporary ride. As it turns out, Walter Anderson (at least in this rendition) has a sweet tooth - his route through town led him straight to Tatonut.
This lighthearted fiction holds an important truth. As Carter put it, the video underscores the fact that "Walter Anderson ... is still with us today, through artwork and through other means."
And that's the meaning of art education.