The Friends of Mary C is a 501c3 non-profit organization born out of the desire to save and restore the landmark 1927 school building located at 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs. This effort was led by incredible women such as Betty Magee, Elizabeth Roberts, and several other community members. The building was named in honor of Mary C. O’Keefe, a progressive educator and the first female superintendent in the state of Mississippi. 1600 Government Street became the hub of arts and culture in Ocean Springs and provided homes to several local arts organizations where thousands of students and patrons engaged in artistic and educational experiences each year. Twenty years later The Friends along with tremendous efforts and funding from businesses and individuals have accomplished their Mission of saving and restoring the landmark school building. We have been relieved of our duty by the City of Ocean Springs and thank them for entrusting us to operate an arts and culture center on their behalf for so long.
The Friends are moving on to share our love and care with another historical treasure located at the Twelve Oaks nature preserve. We are humbled and honored to share a space once inhabited by Johanna Smith-Blount and aim to share her historical legacy with the community. We will continue to honor Mary C. O’Keefe with our Mission in Motion: To instill a love of learning, encourage creative expression, and enrich lives through arts and culture experiences. Just like Mary C. we will continue to raise the standards of arts and culture programming by partnering with other non-profit and for-profit entities across the Gulf Coast.
“Forward ever, backwards never.” ~ Elizabeth Roberts