Artsy in Mississippi: The State’s Best Places to Leave You Feeling Inspired

The South has an indomitable spirit of creativity. Here, we regularly produce some of the nation’s best musicians, painters, sculptors, architects, artisans of every discipline you could imagine. You can feel that spirit buzzing in the hot, sweet summer air. You can hear its echoes chasing all along the mountain ridges. And you can capture some of it for yourself in Mississippi, where inspiration is part of the natural landscape.

City with Soul mural near the Two Museums in Jackson, Mississippi This work was completed in 2020.

Public Art | Jackson

Jackson is home to an abundance of artists who grew up steeped in the vibrant spirit of the “City with Soul.” Their collective artistic pulse can be felt in the streets, walls, and common spaces of Jackson, where public art bursts to life around every corner. The JXN Public Art Map allows visitors to chart their very own tour of over 100 bold murals, soaring sculptures, and one-of-a-kind installations, categorized by neighborhood. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure for art.

The Angel Tree & Katrina Catastrophe Trees | Bay St. Louis to Biloxi

All along scenic Highway 90, keep a weather eye out for a series of unusual trees. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed swathes of old oaks and cypresses, three prestigious wood sculptors descended on the area to transform them into works of art. The “Angel Tree” in Bay St. Louis especially stands out, having served as refuge for three people and their dog in the storm. Now with magnificent painted wings, it soars among several others in Bay St. Louis as a symbol of recovery and resilience.

Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi Museum of Art | Jackson

You don’t have to travel to New York or LA for a world-class artistic experience. The Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson connects Mississippi to the world. This is a space where visitors can connect with each other and with a shared past. The ongoing “New Symphony of Time” exhibition is especially popular, featuring over 170 works that “expand and illuminate the boundaries of Mississippi’s narrative,” inspired by the poetry of Margaret Walker.

Walter Anderson Museum of Art | Ocean Springs

Maybe you’ve heard of the South’s most elusive artist… but if not, now’s your chance to find out. American master painter Walter Anderson only gained true recognition after his death in 1965. Chronically misunderstood until modern times, Anderson’s work reflects an almost total immersion in nature with an eccentricity that resists description. His posthumously-discovered “Little Room,” a mural known as the Sistine Chapel of Mississippi, is testament to the raw, naturalistic power of creative passion-a treasure not to be missed.

Attic Gallery | Vicksburg

Independence is at the heart of much of Southern art and culture. At the Attic Gallery, you’ll find this independent artistic spirit in a menagerie of regional pieces, selected with a discerning eye for the unique, unusual, and utterly fascinating. With handmade pottery, glass, jewelry, fine art, and funky Blues pieces, you not only get to admire the Southern folk charm-you can take it home with you, too.

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art | Laurel

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is located in a turn-of-the-century Georgian Revival structure built in 1923. The building was to be the home of Lauren Eastman Rogers, the only son of one of Laurel’s founding families. After Rogers’ early death, the building was converted into a museum, gallery and educational institution. Exhibits showcase American art, European paintings, Native American baskets, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints and British Georgian silver.

Caron Gallery | Tupelo

A space to accommodate all tastes, Tupelo’s Caron Gallery is a warm, vibrant home to a variety of styles. Showcasing upwards of 40 artists-representing aesthetics spanning the modern and traditional, landscapes and figures, realism and the avant-garde-there is truly something here for everyone. If you’re out to make your home design dreams reality or find the perfect bespoke gift, Caron Gallery is your land of milk and honey.

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum | Biloxi

George Edgar Ohr was the “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” another figure in a rich history of barrier-shattering artists from Mississippi. His works were plagued by misfortunes, from theft to fire, but Ohr salvaged enough of his “burned babies” to persevere. Today, you can find his masterful works housed alongside contemporary visionaries in Biloxi. Promoting the diverse cultural heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Ohr’s own legacy, this museum is a rare chance to experience a fresh perspective on the region’s ceramic arts.

Pacesetter Gallery | Flowood

The award-winning Pacesetter Gallery features original artwork from over 60 current Mississippi artists and also sells Mississippi gifts. Walk in the door and soak up good music and a mix of Mississippi contemporary fine art and traditional art, including unique handmade pottery, jewelry, sculpture, and glass art.  Deep dive the art and win in a prize by completing the Anytime Art Scavenger Hunt. The gallery specializes in unique handmade gifts and interesting small finds. Check the gallery calendar for upcoming artist-led monthly paint and sips events, art lessons, open mic poetry night, live artist painting demos, improv comedy, and Watercolor Wednesdays painting classes.

You don’t have to have an art degree to appreciate the raw spirit of creativity in Mississippi. And even if you do, there’s so much here for you. Inspiration awaits for anyone and everyone to come along and find it. Get inspired for your next trip by exploring further at www.VisitMississippi.org.