The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art, established in 1997 by The Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, is an expansion of the C.W. Woods Art Gallery founded in 1977.
The museum presents a wide range of regional to international, and historical to contemporary exhibitions, and provides a forum for education by hosting lectures, workshops, and symposia by leading artists, critics, curators and historians. The museum’s mission is to enrich the educational and cultural experience of the university and Hattiesburg community; while at the same time serving as an educational platform for students of the Department of Art & Design. The museum is composed of three galleries: the C.W. Woods Gallery, the Walter James Lok Gallery, and the recently named Karnes-Sullivan Gallery.
The Museum of Art exhibits works on loan from artists, museums, and galleries; and showcases student and faculty work. The museum manages two traveling exhibitions: the nationally recognized civil rights exhibition Faces of Freedom Summer: the Photographs of Herbert Randall; and Drawing on Katrina: Mississippi Children Respond to the Storm, a collection of 40 framed drawings, paintings, and collages by South Mississippi children. The museum has hosted leading figures in the art world, including the Reverend Victoria Jackson Gray-Adams, a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights movement; William Bailey, the internationally-known painter and Professor Emeritus of Yale University; Thomas Hoving, Director Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Daniel Piersol, former Curator of Prints and Drawings at the New Orleans Museum of Art; Margaret Livingstone, Harvard Professor and author of Vision and Art: the Biology of Seeing; Faith Ringgold, national story-quilt artist and professor at the University of California, San Diego; and Claudia DeMonte, internationally recognized artist, Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of the University of Maryland, and curator of Women of the World: A Global Collection of Art.
Each spring the museum hosts the Department of Art & Design Annual Student Show, a juried exhibition highlighting student achievements in our visual arts programs, and the strengths and successes of each area in our department: Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing, and Sculpture.
The museum is located on the ground floor of the Fine Arts Building, Marsh Hall, 111 Southern Drive. Parking for museum guests is available behind Marsh Hall off Hardy St. Metered parking is also available on Southern Drive. Admission to the museum and reception is free and open to the public. School and community groups are welcome.