Like a mirror, art reflects the beauty of the world around us, reveals who we truly are, and can contain a lot of naked people. Step into a fun house of art-mirrors with today's Groupon: for $12, you get two adult admissions to The Orient Expressed at the Mississippi Museum of Art (a $24 value).
The newly renovated Mississippi Museum of Art is home to a diverse and rapidly expanding permanent collection. Its artistic trove of American art; British, 19th century portraits; preColumbian ceramics; and more have garnered it a 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service award. The Orient Expressed is an exhibit dedicated to Japonisme, a cultural phenomenon involving Japanese influences in Western art from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Marvel at more than 200 rarely viewed works by Gauguin and Whistler among many others while tickling the brain with little-known art-history facts such as Gauguin's secret envy of Lisa Frank.
Patrons are free to stroll through Mississippi Museum of Art's other current exhibitions, several of which are free to the public. Analytical appetites can be replenished at the on-site Palette Café with scrumptious salads ($8.50), sandwiches ($8.50), and retired still-life fruit.
Mississippi Museum of Art
What began as a small art association—originally assembled to organize an exhibit of local art—eventually blossomed into a full-scale museum as its art collection grew. Today, works by world-renowned artists share space with masterpieces by Mississippians in a museum committed to making the visual arts more accessible for the community at large.
The Building: After decades in its original location, the museum was moved to a new space in 2007. A transparent door and entryway enables outsiders to see the visitors inside the space, a play on the museum's mantra to make it a "museum without walls."
Permanent Mainstay: The Mississippi Story celebrates art by Mississippians and includes photos by Eudora Welty, works by William Hollingsworth, and a collection of quilts.
In the Collection 19th-century portraits includes works by British artists Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Sully; works by master artists Picasso, Miró, Chagall, and Rembrandt; as well as a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts.
In the Open Air: Outside the museum, take a stroll through The Art Garden, more than an acre of green space peppered with outdoor art installations and a performance stage.
Past Exhibits: Spacious Skies featured 14 painted or drawn landscapes culled from the permanent collections of such artists as John Sloan, Will Henry Rivers, Elaine Galen, as well as the museum's first painting, William P. Silva's The Shower.
Pro Tip: At the monthly workshop Look and Learn with Hoot, kids develop the skills for art literacy through an art activity and story time.
Special Programs: Almost 30 affiliate museums throughout the state regularly feature artwork from the museum's permanent collection.