“Almost a Miracle” – The Highly Anticipated Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Opens

First it was politics that kept a damper on the plans, then, after those issues had been worked out between the City Council and landowners, the plans finally got underway to build a spectacular new museum in Biloxi, MS that would showcase The Mad Potter, George Ohr and his world renowned American art pottery. It was to be a spectacular creation; and why shouldn’t it be? The international architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Frank Gehry, was behind the awe-inspiring design. Then Hurricane Katrina happened and suddenly, all of the hard work by so many was washed out into the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In a split second, it seemed the museum would never happen. But not for the resilient Gulf Coast residents and the collective determination to make it so, it might not have.

Now, though, and several years later than anyone could have every anticipated, the museum opened to all the fanfare and festivities that define the grand southern tradition. Gehry, whose work includes the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain as well as other famous designs around the world, said during the ribbon cutting ceremony last weekend, “There is a special feeling of the people here that I’ve never quite experienced before”.

And with that, the world was finally able to see what even a devastating hurricane could not prevent from happening. The doors were opened and the result? A collective sigh that was unmistakable and a very proud moment for Biloxi, American art pottery, and certainly George Ohr Pottery, and of course, all of those who worked so hard to make it happen.

If you’re ever in the Biloxi, Mississippi area, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t take a tour. It is the epitome of a “labor of love”. Courtesy of the state’s efforts to inspire tourism following Katrina, a series of videos and pressers were put together. Below, you can see a brief tour of the museum from last week. And if you do visit us down here in the south, be sure to let us know – we want to know what you think!  Also, don’t forget to become a fan of Just Art Pottery on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, too!