‘B20: Wiregrass Biennial’ set for a virtual opening at WMA

DOTHAN, Alabama — July 14, 2020 — The Wiregrass Museum of Art announces the opening of the virtual exhibition, “B20: Wiregrass Biennial” on July 16 at wiregrassbiennial.com/. WMA’s biennial showcases the South’s most talented contemporary artists, illustrating the region’s rich cultural heritage. The juried exhibition encourages innovative and progressive work that utilizes a variety of art forms and media, including paintings, sculptures, mixed media, new media, and installation art. Three jurors chose from a field of over 130 entries for this year’s exhibition — the first virtual exhibition ever for WMA — which will feature 39 artists from 11 states.

Participating artists are Jonathan Adams (Bristol, Va.), Katie Mae Adams (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Carrie Ann Baade (Havana, Fla.), Matthew N. Barton (New Orleans, La.), Kelly Shannon Boehmer (Pooler, Ga.), Tra Bouscaren (Tallahassee, Fla.), Kimberley A. Brown (Huntsville, Ala.), Sarah Bryant (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Jessica Caldas (High Springs, Fla.), Heidi Carlsen-Rogers (Bella Vista, Ark.), Namwon Choi (Savannah, Ga.), Yvette L. Cummings (Conway, S.C.), Brooks Dierdorff (Orlando, Fla.), Lauren Frances Evans (Birmingham, Ala.), Maggie Evans (Savannah, Ga.), MaDora Frey (Atlanta, Ga.), Lilian Garcia-Roig (Tallahassee, Fla.), Leah Hamel (Hoover, Ala.), Joshua Hoggle (Birmingham, Ala.), Bryce Lafferty (Jacksonville, Ala.), Jasper Lee (Birmingham, Ala.), Tara Stallworth Lee (Birmingham, Ala.), S.A. Maples (Vinemont, Ala.), Mär Martinez (Orlando, Fla.), Chieko M. Murasugi (Chapel Hill, N.C.), Jared Ragland and Cary Norton (Birmingham, Ala.), Lauren O’Connor-Korb (Athens, Ga.), Duane Paxson (Comer, Ga.), Sarah Jane Philips (Huntsville, Ala.), Chiharu Roach (Birmingham, Ala.), Victoria Sauer (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Benjamin J. Shamback (Mobile, Ala.), Martha Underriner (DeLand, Fla.), Andrea Vail (Sugar Grove, N.C.), Kevin Vanek (Hattiesburg, Miss,), Kami Watson (New Market, Ala.), Gaby Wolodarski (Montevallo, Ala.), and April Wright (Lexington, Ky.).

“The biennial exhibition is an important venue to showcase the incredible work being made in the South. I always enjoy being introduced to new artists and providing a platform for the artists to connect with each other. What makes this exhibition unique is that it serves as a visual representation of the diverse stories that exist across our region and an opportunity to learn from the experiences and stories that our artists are sharing,” said WMA Executive Director and Curator Dana-Marie Lemmer.

WMA made the decision to hold the exhibition online due to the ongoing need for physical distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists would normally travel from around the Southeast to deliver and install their work, attend the traditional exhibition opening, and hold in-person artist talks and workshops. This year’s online biennial will give the public new ways to engage with artists, with plans for virtual artist talks, online workshops, virtual studio tours, artist conversations, and social media takeovers. All programming will be archived on the website alongside the virtual exhibition.

Rather than postponing or cancelling B20, WMA made the decision to hold the exhibition in a new format, recognizing the benefit of providing exposure for participating artists, especially those who may be at the beginning of their careers. This platform to introduce their work to new audiences is especially important now as exhibitions and gallery shows around the U.S. have been cancelled.

“Although a virtual exhibition can’t replace the experience of seeing this work in person, we’re looking forward to expanding our audience via digital platforms this year. More people will be introduced to participating artists and their work through the virtual exhibition, as well as new programming initiatives that will connect artists directly with the public,” said Lemmer.

Through grant funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, WMA was able to waive the application fees for B20, making it more accessible to all artists across the region. WMA also established a new exhibition prize, the Alabama Award, which will award $1,000 to an Alabama artist in the show. B20 artists will also be eligible for the Judge’s Award and People’s Choice Award, worth $1,000 each. The awards are intended to give artists funding to continue to develop new work and support their studio practice.

“The Alabama State Council on the Arts is proud to support ‘B20: Wiregrass Biennial’ and is particularly pleased with the establishment of the Alabama Award. The creation of the award furthers the Council’s goals of supporting excellence and professionalism in the arts and supports economic vitality in communities through the arts. The Council on the Arts staff, especially, is excited to see the continued investment in Alabama artists that the Wiregrass Museum of Art is making now and will make for years to come,” said Amy Jenkins, ASCA’s visual art program manager and gallery director.

The winners of the Alabama and Judge’s awards will be selected by B20 judge Jackie Clay, the executive director at the Coleman Center for the Arts, a contemporary art space in York, Alabama. The People’s Choice Award will be decided by online voting from the public. In addition to the $1,000 prize for the work that receives the most votes, second and third place prizes of $500 each have been added this year to provide additional financial support to artists during these challenging economic times.


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.

Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.

Terms and Conditions

The Wiregrass Museum of Art reserves the right to photograph and reproduce chosen works publication, publicity, and educational purposes. Participation in this exhibition shall be an agreement on the part of the artist to these conditions. The museum reserves the right to exclude works submitted without appropriate preparation (documentation, mounting hardware, suitable frame/mat, etc.), or which are damaged or incomplete. The museum is not responsible for the safekeeping of any works left in its care ninety (90) days after the close of the exhibition.