Music & Arts

There must be something magic in this land. Every corner of the world has its own signature music, art and literature, but Mississippi has a depth of cultural richness that few regions can rival. Known as the “Birthplace of America’s Music,” Mississippi has literally shaped the course of modern music with its contributions to blues, jazz, rock, country and gospel. Mississippi writers helped define the character of 20th century American literature, and Mississippians continue to have a significant influence on the traditional and performing arts to this today.


Music & Arts

With ballets, writers, painters and potters galore, Mississippi is one of America’s most fertile creative regions. Literary giants like Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Richard Wright and Eudora Welty all hail from our state, as well as contemporary literary figures like John Grisham, Jesmyn Ward, Natasha Trethewey and Richard Ford. Mississippi may have more established writers per capita than any other state in the nation.

The visual arts thrive in Mississippi as well, with noted artists such as Walter Anderson, Marie Hull, George Ohr, Caroline Compton and William Hollingsworth forming the bedrock of Mississippi's artistic heritage. A multitude of contemporary and visionary artists hail from Mississippi, too, including William Dunlap, Ethel Wright Mohammed and Gwendolyn Magee. Our state has also been a defining force in the world of pottery, most notably in long-standing, family-owned pottery businesses like Shearwater on the Gulf Coast and McCarty's in the Delta.

In the realm of performing arts, Mississippi is home to the International Ballet Competition, and many of our colleges and universities house exceptional dance and performance programs.

For those who wish to experience the richness of Mississippi culture, two trail programs have been developed to help visitors navigate the wealth of our musical heritage: the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Country Music Trail.


Blues Music

Blues Music

It’s a fact that every Mississippian will proudly tell you: Our state spawned the genre that is the taproot of modern popular music. Whether you're a die-hard blues fan or a casual traveler in search of entertainment, you'll discover facts you never knew, sights you've never seen and a whole new appreciation for the area that gave birth to the blues.

Throughout the state, the markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail tell the stories of blues artists both renowned and obscure through words and images. From sprawling cotton fields and rustic train depots to cemeteries, clubs and churches, you’ll see firsthand how the people, places and culture around them influenced and shaped their music.

Country Music

Country Music

You know the Magnolia State for the blues, but visitors are often amazed to meet its multi-talented first cousin. Whether you call it hillbilly, honky-tonk or neo-traditional, Mississippi’s rich heritage of country music still runs deep here and continues to be heard and felt throughout the south.

Follow the Mississippi Country Music Trail to discover the state’s boundless contributions to country music. Not confined to a region or defined by a single style or technique, the sounds of Mississippi country music are the soundtrack of the American South.

Fine Arts

Fine Arts

Given the wealth of artists in Mississippi, it’s no surprise that we’re surrounded by the visual arts. Look around and you’ll see colorful murals on the walls – from the B.B. King mural in downtown Indianola to the Vicksburg Riverfront murals – and even on the utility boxes. Events such as the Ridgeland Arts Festival draw artists from all over the country, and our galleries and arts centers showcase the talents of painters, photographers and filmmakers. If you’re a film buff, check out the festivals happening throughout the year, including the Oxford Film Festival and Crossroads Film Festival.

Literary

Literary

“I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about, and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.” — Nobel Prize Winner William Faulkner

Faulkner is just one of the many literary giants whose love of literature began with a love of Mississippi. Stroll upon Faulkner’s native soil at his home in Oxford and learn about his family roots in New Albany and Ripley. See the Mississippi that Tennessee Williams called “the beauty spot of creation, a dark, wide spacious land that you can breathe in” by visiting his childhood home in Columbus. Visit Eudora Welty’s home and gardens in Jackson, which appear just as they were when she would step out the door for one of her countless trips to the neighborhood grocery store, which also remains. Explore the Smith-Robertson Museum in Jackson, where Richard Wright walked the halls as a schoolboy. These writers have given birth to a new generation of Mississippi literary heritage – from the master of legal thrillers, John Grisham, to the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner Donna Tartt and Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the United States in 2012. If you love literature, Mississippi’s literary heritage and the native soil invite you to explore the inspiration behind some of the world’s greatest writing.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts

Mississippi is where the performing arts converge, from music to dance to theatre to storytelling. Visitors and residents enjoy a full spectrum of vibrant live performances at venues throughout the state. Community theatre thrives in the Magnolia State, nurturing a creative spirit among the youth that stays with them for life. Mississippi’s public universities boast state-of-the-art performing arts centers, with a dynamic schedule of programs and performances year-round. Every four years, dancers from around the globe come to Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall to participate in the USA International Ballet Competition, one of the world’s elite ballet competitions. And in addition to the classical arts, Mississippi is also home to rustic opry houses, intimate concert halls and pull-up-a-chair-guitar-picking picnics and festivals. However your tastes may run, you’ll find a myriad of outstanding performances in Mississippi.




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