Come with us on a visit to Jackson Street Gallery, one of our favorite art shops in the South.

Finding the Jackson Street Gallery was a happy accident. Our group―all Home editors―was looking for a good lunch spot while traveling in Mississippi, and we found one called My Friend's Place deli in Ridgeland. A couple doors down from the deli was Jackson Street Gallery, and we strolled in after lunch without expectations. The gallery is tucked into the corner of a quiet, unassuming shopping center on U.S. 51. It's a colorful, decidedly feminine place with a "have-a-nice-day" vibe. Coming inside feels like stepping into a spa that you keep coming back to because it makes you feel pretty. Soft music plays on the sound system, the air smells like scented candles, and the track lighting is fantastically flattering on you and the art. One wall is painted a warm paprika that makes the framed pieces look all the more appealing. Every wall is covered with stunning paintings, big and small, in custom frames.

And here's a very good thing: The gallery owner, Paula Jackson, doesn't bombard you when you walk in the door or make you feel like an uncultured dum-dum when you tell her you don't know what to buy. "I think people should just buy what they love, what catches their eye, and not overthink it," says Paula. "Buying art is such a personal thing. I like to let people linger, look around, take their time. I never push paintings onto people. I just answer questions."

Our big question on our visit: How many local artists are shown here? Answer: Almost every artist has a Mississippi connection, including Cecilia Baker, a petite, smiley woman who was painting a picture of a lush Charlestonesque courtyard garden the day we were there. "I'd say 98% of the artists in here live in Mississippi," explains Paula. "And the other 2% have a Mississippi connection, like maybe they grew up here." That's one more point for Paula, because buying local art is always the way to go in our book. Paintings by people who love and live in the South―you can't do much better than that.

  • Our Favorite Finds
  • 1. Catty Wumpus by Cathy Hegman
  • 2. Curves by Julie Putman
  • 3. Red Sea by Katie Drummonds
  • 4. Candelabras, votive holders, and yard birds handmade of colorful, swirly glass by Andrew Young
  • 5. Poppies by Beverly Harvey
  • 6. Portraits in pink by Evelyn Gray
  • For a complete list of artists, visit

Know Before You Go
Great buys can be found here at every price point. Be sure to ask Paula for an artist's bio on anything you buy. She names a lot of paintings for the artists, so ask about the stories behind her titles.

Jackson Street Gallery: 500 U.S. 51 North, Ridgeland, MS 39157; or (601) 853-1880.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

"Look What We Found" is from the June 2008 issue of Southern Living.