The mission of The Friends of The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center Corporation of Arts and Education Corporation is to serve as stewards of the landmark 1927 public school building, to encourage our diverse citizen population to attend performing, culinary and visual art events at the Mary C, to grow focused collections for exhibitions and educational programs that highlight the history of the area, and to be dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Ocean Springs, Jackson County, the state of Mississippi and the South.
A Brief History
The effort to save the building and create a community arts center began in 1998 and moved ahead quickly with the incorporation of the Friends of the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in October 1999. Since then, a major renovation has been completed and work continues on development of expanded facilities in the building. Funding has been provided by the VA/HUD, Department of the Interior, State of Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Arts Commission, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, the City of Ocean Springs, and by generous contributions – large and small – from local people and organizations... (Read More)Mary C. O’Keefe, a progressive educator, was named the first woman public school superintendent in Mississippi. She instilled a spirit of learning and raised the level of education. In 1999, this facility was named in her honor.
The building was constructed in 1927 and is a primary historic landmark of Ocean Springs. The school’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places indicates the significance of this building in our community’s heritage.