Jackson County

Artists wow the crowd under oak-lined streets. Peter Anderson Festival draws thousands.

Artist Donna Peters of Crane Hill, Alabama, displays her oil paintings, which have a coastal theme, at the 39th annual Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs on Sunday.
Artist Donna Peters of Crane Hill, Alabama, displays her oil paintings, which have a coastal theme, at the 39th annual Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs on Sunday. rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

Artists from across the nation showed and sold their work in a street-party atmosphere under a sunny sky and slight breeze Sunday in downtown Ocean Springs.

People from near and far attended the 39th annual Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival, a two-day show that ended Sunday. Several hundred artists set up booths along oak-lined streets, where neighboring businesses offered discounts on food and beverages.

Many of the artists selected for the show presented what one would expect at an event considered a premiere show. Last year’s festival was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events.

Artists showed paintings, such as the oil paintings of coastal scenes by Donna Peters of Crane Hill, Alabama. She has shown her work at the festival for several years and at other shows that include festivals on the Mississippi Coast.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so that is what I paint,” said Peters, an artist for 50 years.

One of her paintings, of a seaside lighthouse with birds in flight, had a price tag of $2,700.

There also were ceramics, such as the work of returning artist Paul Hofrenning of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and of festival newcomer Vixon Sullivan, who showed magnolia-themed work.

Artists don’t just show up for the festival, Hofrenning said. They are selected by a jury, a group of artists who determine who gets picked.

“You email them slides or samples of your work and they either like you well enough to invite you or they don’t,” Hofrenning said.

“I’m glad I was picked to come back,” he said. “The people I meet are nice, including the other artists, and the weather is good.”

The festival was created to honor master potter Peter Anderson, who founded Shearwater Pottery in 1928, and as a celebration of the arts community.

The festival is said to be the largest arts and crafts exhibit in Mississippi.

Metalsmiths, jewelers and other types of artists also displayed their work.

And a cellphone amplifier

There also were some unusual items.

Ide Etondi of Alpharetta, Georgia, demonstrated natural speakers and amplifiers for cellphones, made from mango trees by Guy Foun.

Caricaturist Neal Asher of Dallas, Texas, drew people willing to sit for him, such as Leah Boudreaux of Ocean Springs.

And there were books. Dr. Philip Levin, an author and emergency room doctor at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, displayed and sold his works.

“It’s been a good day,” Levin said Sunday.

“I sold 50 books today. But the money I made, the guy next to me made that much with just one sale,” Levin said, referring to Hofrenning.

“I do this because I love it and I love meeting people,” Levin said.

Roxanne Cunningham of Ocean Springs said she enjoyed attending.

“There was so much to look at, just tons of stuff. A lot of variety,” Cunningham said.

She is one of many who took one of the buses that shuttled festivalgoers to the street party.

“I saw the sign that said ‘park and ride’ so I did,” Cunningham said.

Many parents attended with children in strollers or at their side.

“Don’t touch! Don’t touch!” Lyndsay Gradyan told her oldest son as they passed a pottery display. The Biloxi mother attended with her husband, Tech. Sgt. Adam Gradyan and their two other children.

The festival is sponsored by the Blue Moon Art Project and F.E.B. Distributing.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews