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4. Mississippi Museum of Art

Press Contact: Nina Moss; 601-965-9924

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Gwendolyn Magee, Community Member; Betsy Bradley, Director; and Mrs. Obama.
Pictured: Gwendolyn Magee, Community Member; Betsy Bradley, Director; and Mrs. Obama. Click image to access high-resolution version.

The Mississippi Museum of Art embraces its Mississippi roots in all programming, grounded in a sense of place that contributes to the understanding of the cultural identity of the state and its people.

In 2007, the museum built a new facility with a design that embodies its mission "to engage Mississippians in the visual arts." Visitors pass through a light-filled lobby and multipurpose spaces before reaching the galleries. Since its move, the museum welcomes twice the number of visitors each year and sees near-capacity audiences at programs.

A free and permanent exhibition, The Mississippi Story, underscores the museum’s prime responsibility to the statewide community it serves, and distinguishes the cultural identity of the region for all museum visitors.

Through multidisciplinary programs, permanent installations, and travelling exhibitions of regional, national, and international scope, the museum works ceaselessly to remain relevant to the community – the inspiration for all of its work.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (MS) "The visual arts have the ability to inspire, educate and entertain.The Mississippi Museum of Art has grown from a club for exhibiting local art works to a wonderfully modern center for bringing the arts to people of all ages and backgrounds.I credit the museum for effectively using its exhibition capabilities to educate and facilitate discussions on the colorful, and sometimes complex, breadth of art and history in our state and the South.I was pleased to sponsor this nomination, and I applaud the selection of the Mississippi Museum of Art for this national honor."

Senator Cochran nominated the museum for this award.

Community Member Gwendolyn Magee
Textile artist benefits from museum’s dedication
Textile artist Gwendolyn Magee considers the Mississippi Museum of Art to be one of the state’s most valuable art resources. As a resident of Jackson since 1972, she has benefited from the museum staff’s commitment and dedication to regional artists, and has garnered numerous awards at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

Over the years, Gwendolyn has worked very closely with the staff and acknowledges their dedication by saying, "No artist could ask for more." The museum takes great care to showcase work in solo or group exhibits, which includes painstaking efforts to properly mount exhibits, extensive publicity campaigns, and exhibits at venues throughout the state.

The museum’s vision, mission, and dynamic programming inspire Gwendolyn’s continued volunteer efforts – as a member of the community and as an artist.

Gwendolyn’s art is featured in many publications, and her solo exhibit, A Journey of the Spirit: The Art of Gwendolyn A. Magee, toured eleven venues accompanied by a monograph of the same title. Her work is found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Michigan State University Museum, and Mississippi Museum of Art.