When Destin, Florida, sculptor Marlin Miller volunteered to come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to carve two trees destroyed by Hurricane Katrina he had no idea what this gesture would lead to. Marlin ended up spending over three years on his project to turn the mighty oak trees destroyed by Hurricane Katrina into stunning works of art. Sculptures now line the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Highway 90 from Waveland to Pascagoula. Marlin uses a chainsaw and sander like most artists use a brush and paint to create lasting masterpieces which will be enjoyed by locals and tourists for years to come.
Dudley Pleasants realized his artistic potential when he began creating bottle trees. Pleasants is a traditional guy. The Greenwood farmer describes himself as a simple country boy, but to the people of the Delta, he’s known as The Bottle Tree Man. About a dozen years ago, Pleasants, a professional musician and welder, was asked by his wife to combine his artistic talents and make her a bottle tree. It was then that he discovered his talent and started his own business of making and selling bottle trees. Pleasants now has sold more than 700 of them to folks across the nation. What started as a “honey do” for his wife has now allowed Dudley Pleasants to share this wonderful tradition with the world.
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art is dedicated to the celebration of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson, an American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the forefront of American painters of the Twentieth Century. The museum also celebrates his brothers, Peter Anderson, master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery and James McConnell Anderson, noted painter and ceramist.
The Permanent Collection at the museum includes around 800 pieces of watercolors, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, linoleum block prints, oil paintings and furniture by Walter Anderson. Two items that the museum is extremely proud to display are the bicycle and the boat that belonged to Walter Anderson. He could often be seen tooling around Ocean Springs on his two wheel mode of transportation but when he took to the water, he would row the 12 miles out to Horn Island in this small skiff, carrying minimal necessities and his art supplies.
Anderson spent long periods of time on this uninhabited island over the last 18 years of his life. There he lived primitively, working in the open and sleeping under his boat, sometimes for weeks at a time. He endured extreme weather conditions, from blistering summers to hurricane winds and freezing winters. He painted and drew a multitude of species of island vegetation, animals, birds, and insects that resulted in works of the natural world that were both intense and evocative.
Golden Memorial Park in Leake County shows us some of Mother Nature’s handy work. On November 6, 1945, W. A. Ellis, who was a descendant of early settlers of the Walnut Grove area, deeded forty acres in Leake County to the State of Mississippi to be used for a park. The donation was made in memory of the patrons, pupils, teachers and friends of the old Golden School and their descendants. The Golden school house stood on a black-jack hill on the northern edge of Scott County. It was so named in honor of Dr. William Golden, the grandfather of Mr. Ellis.