Mississippi has a rich artistic and cultural heritage that has produced world-changing luminaries in the visual arts, music (of course), and literature, too. That makes our state a perfect place for those interested in taking an artistic journey – whether you’re an artist seeking inspiration or just someone who appreciates creative expression in all its forms.
The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience, aka “The MAX,” offers visitors an entertaining and interactive experience that showcases Mississippi’s cultural legacy and seeks to inspire a new generation of artists through its exhibits and programs. Be sure to check out their calendar before you visit, as The MAX hosts regular events, including opportunities to see noteworthy speakers and musical acts.
The Bill Waller Craft Center, in Ridgeland, is home to the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, a collection of artists who work together to “preserve and promote, educate and encourage, the highest standard of excellence in regional crafts.” The Craft Center showcases the work of these Mississippi artisans and offers a wide variety of handmade items for purchase at their retail store. Regular demonstrations and workshop events are held throughout the year.
Pearl River Glass, located in Jackson, is one of the nation’s preeminent stained glass studios. Founded in 1975, the company has completed commissions and restorations for churches, architects, designers, and builders around the country. The studio offers a small retail space where collectors and home decorators can purchase kiln-formed glass works and glassware products. Their Christmas ornaments are particularly popular and feature a new design every year.
Located just south of Yazoo City in Central Mississippi, Bentonia is the birthplace of a distinctive, haunting style of blues music known as the Bentonia Blues. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes is one of the last surviving practioners of the music form, and he also happens to be the owner of one of the last remaining traditional juke joints in the South, the Blue Front Cafe. If you love authentic American roots music, be sure to come experience authentic blues in a historic setting.
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art is more than just a shop where you can buy blues records, folk art, and other cultural memorabilia. Cat Head’s owner, Roger Stolle, came to Clarksdale with a mission to help preserve the unique cultural legacy of the Delta Blues and build up the economic vitality of its birthplace, Clarksdale, Mississippi. He’s been pretty relentless in that pursuit, too, having written blues books, co-produced films and records, and co-founded music festivals.
Despite his name, the great American playwright, Thomas “Tennessee” Williams, was born in Columbus, Mississippi and first lived in a colorful Victorian-style home that now serves as the Columbus Welcome Center. (Fun Fact: The house is not in its original location. It was moved to Main Street in 1993 and restored there.) The home is open for tours Monday through Saturday and staffed with helpful people who can help you make the most of your visit to the area.
The “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” George Ohr, is famous for his offbeat personality and his legacy which is alive and well among the thriving art scene of Coastal Mississippi. The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art features a large selection of his ceramic work and an ever-changing lineup of new exhibitions featuring a wide range of visual arts. The museum, which was designed by the celebrated architect Frank Gehry, also offers pottery classes where aspiring potters can experience the joy of throwing pots on a pottery wheel.