Despite the misconceptions and stereotypes, Mississippi is home to a thriving and diverse arts community, making it an excellent destination for art lovers. Whether your taste is contemporary, classic, experimental or folk, these Mississippi museums, galleries and art festivals will sure be sure to satisfy.
No art lover’s trip to Mississippi is complete without an afternoon spent at the state’s foremost art museum. With both permanent and revolving exhibitions and collections featuring contemporary and classic paintings, sculpture, photography and art across a variety of mediums, the Mississippi Museum of Art will please even the harshest art critic. Don’t forget to step beyond the museum walls into the Art Garden, a 1.2-acre green space featuring outdoor sculpture, a mosaic splash pad fountain installation and a mural by notable mixed-media artist and muralist William Goodman.
The Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival is an annual arts celebration each spring. Now in its 11th year, this festival showcases fine art in mediums ranging from clay, printmaking and glass to wood, painting and photography. With a beautiful, juried selection of work, the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival allows the entire community access to the fine arts.
One of the unique galleries in the state, the Attic Gallery features a mix of contemporary fine art, handmade jewelry, sculpture and pottery, but it’s the folk art selection that sets the gallery apart. Lovers of Mississippi blues music will especially love the Attic Gallery, finding shrine-like pieces of their favorite musicians and thematic art with brilliant colors that invoke the unique feeling of the soulful Mississippi blues.
Rich in culture, art is a staple of the Mississippi Delta, and Studio 230 in Cleveland is a beautiful showcase of the art coming out of the region. The 5,000-square-foot space serves as a gallery, community event space and private studio for co-owner and Delta State University art professor Cetin “Chet” Oguz. With a diverse offering, the art here ranges from woodwork to oil painting, making Studio 230 a must for any Mississippi art lover.
Art House’s bright pink façade is sure to catch the eye of visitors, but the art inside is even more alluring. The state’s longest-running artist co-op is a local favorite and features work from coastal artists across all mediums. With art for purchase in a range of prices and styles, the Art House offers something for everyone.
Spread across Starkville’s historic Cotton District, this annual arts festival is one of the best in the state. Showcasing work from more than 125 visual artists, Cotton District Arts Festival also explores the creative expressions of writers, musicians, and chefs. Be sure to stop by the juried art and student art competitions to catch a glimpse of some of the newest artists in the region.
AND gallery showcases some of the state’s most eclectic works of art. Co-owned and curated by two Jackson artists, Adrienne Domnick and Tyler Tadlock, AND’s mission is to bring new art to the community and build a space for creation and experimentation. The gallery also holds open discussions and conversations surrounding techniques that allow for growth within the emerging arts community. For a taste of the up-and-coming in Mississippi’s arts scene, this gallery cannot be missed.
The state’s largest arts and crafts festival, The Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival is now in its 40th year of celebrating art in Mississippi. Named after the master potter, the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival was developed when a small collective of artists came together to promote public awareness of local art, as well as the community of Ocean Springs. The festival has now grown to showcase over 400 artists with 150,000 visitors drawn to the festival each year.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art suffered a construction setback in 2005’s Hurricane Katrina but has rebuilt a photo-worthy campus designed by architect and artist Frank Gehry. The museum features rotating exhibits and permanent collections with a heavy emphasis on pottery due to the museum’s namesake, master potter George Ohr. The museum often features artworks of local historical significance and offers a beautiful glimpse into the past of Mississippi art.
Boasting art from over 100 artists from all over the state, Double Decker Arts Festival was inspired by Oxford’s imported English double-decker bus. While music is also a highlight of this festival, the art should not be overlooked, especially a particularly wonderful selection of paintings, prints and drawings from emerging artists.
For art that’s one-of-a-kind and a step away from the ordinary, stop by the Gallery at the Mississippi Craft Center. Described as “3-D art,” crafts at the center include handmade items like quilts, metal sculptures, contemporary woodwork, jewelry and glasswork. The employees at the center also include in-depth information about the craftsman who created each item, adding a personal touch to the exhibits.
Located in a former bank, the Gumtree Museum is an unexpected gem in the heart of Tupelo. Providing the community with access to quality visual art, arts education, workshops and events is the primary mission of the museum, making it a treat for any art lover to stop in for a viewing. Gumtree Museum also works to provide space for emerging and young artists to showcase their art and features student work from local high schools, along with revolving exhibits throughout the year.
These recommendations were updated on June 11, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.