Looking up at the underside of Walter Anderson’s boat, you can almost visualize the miles of water the artist once traversed in his many trips to Horn Island. From this fish-like point of view, you take on the perspective of some of the artist’s favorite subjects. Known for his unique depictions of animal and plant life, looking at the works of Walter Anderson can prompt viewers to see the world a little differently.
As art museums rebound from 2020, seven art institutions across the state are inviting in-state and out-of-state visitors alike to experience perspective-shifting art for free through the month of August.
Visitors can see the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden, Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience, Mississippi Museum of Art, Museum of the Mississippi Delta, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and Walter Anderson Museum of Art all free of charge in August as part of Art Museum Month Mississippi.
Go to visitmississippi.org/artmuseums to gain entry to all seven institutions. With your free pass, you can visit one museum or experience all seven.
For travelers who want to do it all, here’s a sample path with stops at all seven participating institutions:
Start Here: Start out with a visit to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs. Displaying a large collection of drawings, painting and prints by the famed artist, the museum also features the “Little Room,” which was painted floor-to-ceiling by Walter Anderson.
Stop 2: Make the short drive west to Biloxi to see the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, which houses pottery made by George Ohr, the “Mad Potter of Biloxi.” The museum campus includes unique buildings designed by architect Frank Gehry and the Pleasant Reed House, a replica of home built in the 1880s and 1890s by an emancipated African American man. The original home was lost in Hurricane Katrina.
Stop 3: After you have taken in the two coastal museums, travel north to Laurel, home of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and the scene of the HGTV show, Home Town.
Mississippi’s first art museum, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art contains a large collection of Native American baskets, 19th and 20th century paintings, British Georgian silver and Japanese prints. The museum also hosts exhibitions of contemporary artwork. While there, pick up a brochure for the walking tour of Laurel’s Historic district, where you might spot some homes that have been featured on TV.
Stop 4: About an hour’s drive from Laurel, the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience, known as “The MAX,” in Meridian is an interactive, modern museum dedicated to shining a light on Mississippi’s enduring creative legacy. With digital and hands-on experiences, visitors take a self-directed journey through Mississippi’s creative roots and culture.
Stop 5: Head east toward Jackson to take in the Mississippi Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the state. Along with its sizable permanent collection of art, the museum also boasts a 1.2-acre greenspace known as The Art Garden, which includes a splash pad. Currently, the museum is exhibiting the Mississippi Invitational, featuring the works of 42 Mississippi artists.
Stop 6: Venture north to visit the Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood, where you’ll learn all about the history of this unique region, its landscape, agrarian roots and cultural legacy. The museum houses a large collection of Native American artifacts, fossils from prehistoric times, local military artifacts and one of the Delta’s most extensive collections of regional art.
Final Stop: Make the short drive to Cleveland to view the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden on the campus of Delta State University. Outside of the Bologna Performing Arts Center, dozens of sculptures are on display, and others dot the campus of Delta State, the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and downtown Cleveland.
However you decide to experience Mississippi’s art institutions, the art of travel is within reach this August.
*Note: COVID-19 mitigation efforts are in place at participating institutions.