In the city where sport fishing and casino gaming are popular, a museum will be less likely to be visited. Ohr O’Keeffe Museum changes this perspective as it brings arts in more than the usual exhibits. Although the museum is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, the museum campus reflects its beauty through the two historical structures and three buildings designed by architect Frank Gehry. The five buildings include Mississippi Sound Welcome Center, Gallery of African American Art, IP Casino Resort Spa Exhibitions Gallery, Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center, and the Creel House.
The Mississippi Sound Welcome Center functions as a main entry building to the campus. Small gallery, a café and ticketing foyer are also found inside the building. In the same building, guests can view the campus from its overlook that is protected by a roof clad in stainless steel panels. The Gallery of African American Art is much bigger in size with 1,700 square feet of exhibition space. The venue is divided into two where one is the main gallery and the other is for the gallery of smaller works.The 1,050 square feet of exhibition space, IP Casino Resort Spa Exhibitions Gallery, is made of a white plaster pavilion with a roof and entry canopy clad in stainless steel panels. Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center is one example of the regional vernacular architecture in 19th century. The center was originally built by Pleasant Reed but it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Then, the Museum Board of Trustees decided to replicate the house and altered the interior which serves for tours and exhibitions. The exterior remained the same as the original Pleasant Reed House. Another regional vernacular architecture is the Creel House where the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Administrative Offices are currently housed.
The fifth gallery was recently opened after its struggling completion. The $65 million City of Biloxi Center for Ceramics is a four-story building where the public can make their work of art. The first floor is a light-filled ceramics studio while the second floor functions as a meeting area for interested organizations. The museum offices are located in the third floor and the board of directors meeting room is located in the fourth floor. The opening of the fifth gallery happened during the Art Fair ExtraOHRdinaire. The last building, The Pods, is expected to open by the end of 2013.
Ohr O’Keeffe Museum showcases permanent and rotating exhibits of paintings in different medium as well as ceramics. An online store is available for the art enthusiasts including ceramics, apparel, body care, mixed media, books, fiber arts, stationery, posters and toys and games.
The museum’s name is a tribute to the ceramic artist George Ohr and Annette O'Keefe, late wife of previous Biloxi Mayor Jeremiah O’Keefe Sr., who was instrumental for the contribution of her family for the capital campaign of the museum which is worth $1M.