The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Inc. is a 501(c)3 private non-profit fine arts facility in Biloxi, Mississippi. Incorporated in October 1993, the Museum’s mission is: Art – preserving the legacy of George Ohr, Culture – celebrating the heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Architecture – sharing the creativity inspired by Museum architect Frank Gehry. This mission is served through compelling exhibitions and educational experiences viewed from a fresh perspective relevant to our community.
George Edgar Ohr (1857-1918), a Biloxi native, “took to the wheel as a wild duck to water” and is responsible for creating delicate ceramic pieces with incredibly thin walls that were twisted and turned into incredible shapes. Many have pronounced him the forerunner of modern ceramics. His clay was dug out of the banks of a local river, and his glazes remain a mystery to this day. Always the consummate marketer, Ohr claimed that of the thousands of pieces in his studio there were “no two alike – you prove otherwise”. Although his art was underappreciated in his own time, Ohr made his living selling utilitarian items and tourist souvenirs. His eccentric personality earned him the name of “The Mad Potter of Biloxi”. Today, Ohr’s work is in collections of major museums including the Smithsonian Institution and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in many privately owned collections.
Located on a 4-acre site populated with Live oak trees, the Museum is a six building campus, five of which were designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry to “dance with the trees”. The Museum is open 10a.m.-5p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Mississippi Sound Welcome Center and the Museum grounds are open to the public at no charge, and the Museum offers free admission on Martin Luther King Jr Day, and two other days during the year. The Museum is proud of its 24 year history providing services to the Gulf Coast Communities. In addition to permanent exhibitions focusing on the work of George Ohr, the Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center - highlighting the life of one of the first emancipated slaves documented to have built his home in Biloxi - and other exhibits focusing on the African American experience on the Gulf Coast, the Museum has quarterly rotating visual and ceramic art exhibitions featuring national and regional artists.
Programming includes adult and school tours of the galleries and native plantings on the Museum’s site, lectures, artists’ talks, school outreach, oil painting classes, an art program for those with mild to moderate Alzheimer ’s disease, and special events. Classes and activities in the City of Biloxi Center for Ceramics Studio include art and/or craft classes for adults and children every Saturday, “Mudslingers” wheel and hand-building classes, clay classes for home-schooled children, “Date Night on the Pottery Wheel”, family clay play, Mud Daubers Summer Art Camp, three annual ceramic art workshops for professional artists, and demonstrations of hand-building and/or wheel throwing for the public.