Alabama State Council on the Arts awards $10,400 to WMA for artist residencies and professional development
DOTHAN, Alabama – March 24, 2021 – The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) has awarded two grants totaling $10,400 to the Wiregrass Museum of Art through its organizational grants program. WMA was awarded $5,200 to support its artist residency program, and another $5,200 for professional development and training in 2021.
ASCA receives annual funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and appropriations from the Alabama state legislature. Each grant from the Council requires a one-to-one match from organizations to ensure community support and project sustainability.
Dana-Marie Lemmer, WMA’s executive director said, “We’re appreciative of ASCA’s continued support over the years, particularly for our artist projects. Not only do these projects impact our local community, but because these grants require a match, we are also able to leverage local support to best serve our community.”
WMA’s artist residency program hosts several artists and artist groups for special projects and short term residence each year. In 2021, this includes a weekend residency with Sloss Metal Arts, a group of artists that operate out of Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to hosting the group for an exhibition at the museum, WMA partnered with Landmark Park to bring Sloss Metal Arts to the Wiregrass for an iron pour demonstration and workshop. Through this partnership and weekend residency, visitors were able to learn about the cast iron process hands-on, with the option to create their own work of art on February 27 at Landmark Park.
The museum will also collaborate with artist Jared Ragland on his project titled What Has Been Will Be Again, a survey of Alabama’s cultural and physical landscape at a consequential moment.
Of the series, Ragland says, “The ongoing project has led me across more than 5,000 miles and 35 counties to bear witness to the scars of generational injustice and reckon a haunting yet tender look at my home state’s troublesome past and tenuous present.”
In 2021, the project will extend to sites along the Old Federal Road in south Alabama, the Trail of Tears in north Alabama, and the final journey of the slave ship Clotilda in Mobile Bay. WMA will launch a digital archive of the artist’s journey later in the year.
ASCA also provided support this year for professional development and training for WMA’s staff and board, who will participate in a series of training opportunities in 2021 to further its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. As WMA continues to work through its current strategic plan, it seeks to provide staff and board members with tools that will help build greater cultural equity for the museum’s broad audiences. This summer, WMA will launch a community advisory committee to deepen its work in these areas, and will open committee seats to the general public. This project will continue to cultivate a sense of openness at WMA and encourage lifelong learning on practices in diversity, equity, access, and inclusion for the museum’s staff and board.
ASCA awards grants annually to non-profit organizations, schools, and other community groups for a variety of projects. Funds are matched by contributions from businesses, individuals, local government and earned income by the organizations receiving the grants.
In December 2020, ASCA awarded 158 grants totaling $881,010 to 136 grantees across the state, including WMA. Council Chairman Jim Harrison III stated in ASCA’s grant announcement, “Sustaining Alabama’s arts organizations during this incredibly difficult period shows the commitment of the Council to building a thriving art and culture field. Our people are hurting, with significantly reduced audiences and revenues. These grants keep the arts in Alabama on track to be an essential part of every community.”
About the Alabama State Council on the Arts
The mission of the Alabama State Council on the Arts is to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality for all Alabamians by providing support for the state’s diverse and rich artistic resources.
The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Elliot Knight, administers the grants programs and provides financial assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
About the Wiregrass Museum of Art
The Wiregrass Museum of Art inspires a lifelong appreciation for the visual arts by providing innovative educational programs that engage diverse audiences through the collection and exhibition of quality works. Since its founding in 1988, WMA has offered educational programs, nationally acclaimed art exhibitions and community events throughout the year. Its Board of Trustees guides the long-term vision and strategic goals, while its membership, City and County support, and grant funding provide the resources needed to fulfill its mission.
WMA’s galleries are open to the public every Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. General admission is always free.
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