The mission of The Friends of The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education is to serve as stewards of the landmark 1927 public school building; to encourage our citizens to attend performing, culinary and visual art events; to grow focused collections for exhibitions and educational programs highlighting the history of the area; and to dedicate time to enhance to quality of life for Ocean Springs, Jackson County, and the state of Mississippi.
Efforts to save the building and transform it into a community arts center began in 1998 and progressed quickly with the incorporation of the Friends of The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in October 1999. Since then, major renovations have been completed and work continues to expand the buildings facilities. Funding for the renovations was provided by; VA/HUD, Department of Interior, State of Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Arts Commission, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, City of Ocean Springs, and by generous contribution from local individuals and organizations. Thank you all!
Mary C. O’Keefe, a progressive educator, was named the first female public school superintendent in Mississippi. She instilled a spirit of learning and raised the level of the quality of education throughout our state. In 1999, the facility was named in her honor.
About Ocean Springs
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, lies at the heart of the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay. It’s known as the City of Discovery in recognition of the French establishment of a settlement here in 1699. Long before the French arrived, however, the area was appreciated for its beauty and natural resources by Native Americans. The attributes that brought these early residents have attracted a diverse stream of people during the past 300 years. Ocean Springs has been flavored by many influences during its rich history, and now in the 21st century, it has a unique character that makes us happy to call it home.
Nestled along the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the City of Ocean Springs is a vibrant and eclectic arts community. It is home to numerous galleries, artist studios, and over 100 restaurants, and recently opened its first micro-brewery. With relatively affordable housing (the median home value is just over $204,000), schools that are among the best in the State of Mississippi, premier healthcare facilities, and a unique beauty found all over town, it is easy to understand why 17,000 people are proud to call Ocean Springs home!
Information courtesy of the City of Ocean Springs.