Mississippi culture is diverse to say the least. The state is well known as the birthplace of the blues, gospel, and rock 'n roll. And, yet, the capital city of Jackson is the United States' host city for the International Ballet Competition, sharing the honor on a rotating basis with Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia.
Every three years, hundreds of professional and amateur dancers and fans from around the world come to Jackson to take part in the competition.
Mississippi culture plays host to the world-class exhibitions, seen nowhere else in the United States, and our museums, concerts, fairs and festivals enrich life in every town throughout the state.
Museums can be found in every retirement city. The Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson has permanent collections of American, Pre-Colombian and British art, and, in recent years, has hosted exhibits of the works of Edgar Degas and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painters.
Opera, ballet, professional theater companies and many symphony orchestras provide enough performances to fill the calendar of any avid culture seeker. Individual communities also have local ballet and theater groups.
Battlefields and historical museums throughout Mississippi display Civil War artifacts and sites. The Center for the Study of Southern Culture in Oxford gives visitors a taste of Southern music, folklore and literature.
The works of state natives attest to the fact that music, literature and art are inherent aspects of Mississippi culture and life. The literary community is one of the most impressive to be found anywhere. Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams and Willie Morris all lifted their pens in Mississippi, and now John Grisham continues the tradition of outstanding Southern writers.
Bluesmen like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and B.B. King created a sound all their own in the Mississippi Delta. "The Father of Country Music," Jimmie Rodgers hailed from Meridian, and Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo. Walter Anderson's renowned paintings of nature were inspired by the surroundings of his home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Music, arts and crafts, barbecue and hot air balloon festivals liven things up in towns throughout the state. The legacy of the Delta blues is celebrated by all-day performances at a number of events. The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo in Jackson is the second-largest rodeo east of the Mississippi River, and Mississippi Gulf Coast residents come together to celebrate Mardi Gras and the Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet.
Antebellum home pilgrimages in Natchez, Columbus, Holly Springs, Vicksburg, Brookhaven and Aberdeen celebrate the romance of a bygone era.