OCEAN SPRINGS -- Walter Anderson Museum of Art Executive Director Rosemary Roosa wants to see some new faces coming through the etched-glass doors of the museum on Washington Avenue.
"My goal is to re-engage the Mississippi Gulf Coast into remembering Walter Anderson and coming to the museum," she said.
On her bucket list: taking Anderson international, with exhibits in Mobile and Houston to more far-flung sites such as Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, she's focusing on drawing young adults -- twenty- and thirtysomethings -- into the museum that was created in 1991 to house the works of an artist who was Ocean Springs' perhaps most legendary and eccentric longtime resident.
She credits Corey Christy, WAMA's development and marketing manager, with a new program, Wednesdays at WAMA.
"It's generally the first Wednesday of every month," she said. The first one was in January and featured craft beer and pizza. Next are a spirits tasting and performance by Brian Pounds from 6 to 9 p.m. March 6 -- a Thursday, because March 5 is Ash Wednesday. Admission to the program is $15 for nonmembers, $10 for members and free for new members.
"It did really well. We're doing this at an affordable price so more people can come in, enjoy the event and learn more about the museum," she said. The goal is more members, a backbone to any museum's sustainability.
"This is a membership drive," she said. There are benefits for membership, at $50 for individuals and $75 for families, including discounts for lectures, programs, art events and trips to Horn Island.
But Roosa and Christy also encourage reciprocal memberships. WAMA is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museum program, and at the $100 and above level, a WAMA member is eligible for reciprocal privileges at more than 500 museums around the country. There are six participating museums in Mississippi, 14 in Louisiana and 11 in Alabama.
WAMA, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art and the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education have created their own mini-consortium, Roosa said, with their own reciprocal discounts.
"It has just started," she said. "If you show your re
ceipt from one, you can get a discount at one of the others."
That translates into a $2 discount off admission for WAMA and Ohr-O'Keefe, and $2 off a theater performance or class at the Mary C. for patrons bringing a receipt dated within the last seven days.
WAMA's first focus is on promoting the works of Walter Anderson, but traveling exhibits add to the experience.
"Exhibits change every four months to keep it interesting," Roosa said. "Our visiting artists' visions are in alignment with Walter Anderson's. They're kindred spirits."
The current visiting exhibit is "New Solar Myths: Drawings and Paintings by Brent Funderburk." The Mississippi State University professor will present a lecture there from 6 to 8 p.m. March 13, "Finding the Symbol That Explains Everything: Walter Anderson and Me." From 6 to 8 p.m. April 10, Funderburk will present a multimedia lecture, "Walter Anderson: A World Vision of Art, Nature and Man."
New York artist Rebecca Alston will bring an upcoming visiting exhibit, and an Anderson works exhibit, "Cats vs. Dogs" featuring Anderson art of furry companions and other animals, is planned.
The Jo and Jake Guice Gallery is home to "Out of the Vault," which features Anderson works in a variety of media that belong to the museum. Gallery exhibit items switch out intermittently among the approximately 1,500 Anderson works in the museum's collection.