Corporate Member Spotlight: Econo Lodge and Team Linda Simmons

WMA is supported by companies throughout diverse sectors, from construction and transportation, to banking and architecture, and more. We spoke with Vimal Patel, a young professional in the hospitality and real estate industries, about his support for the museum through his companies. Vimal also serves as an officer on WMA’s Board of Trustees. Econo Lodge and Vimal Patel – Team Linda Simmons support WMA as a Friend level corporate member.

WMA: Vimal, tell us about your connection to the Wiregrass area and the work that you do here.

Vimal:  My connection to the Wiregrass area is that I grew up in Troy, where our family built our first hotel. The Wiregrass area blessed us to be able to build another here in Dothan, as well as in Montgomery. That’s not technically part of the Wiregrass, but we love to spread the Wiregrass attitude towards life in other parts of the state through our hospitality. Our work in real estate is also a service first oriented mindset. We know time is our most valuable commodity and so we really emphasize being prompt, punctual, and precise with the work we do.

WMA: What motivates you to support WMA as a corporate member?

Vimal: We believe the museum is an important place for our community to have in an increasingly polarized cultural climate. Art and its broad spectrum of expressions champion the idea of diversity. Diversity matters because when we embrace it, we are embracing different perspectives that enable us to create and understand through the spectrum of those perspectives. As someone in the business community and as an individual, I encourage others to actively and knowingly be open-minded as to what the word diversity means, as well as putting it into practice.

WMA: What do you hope that your company’s support of the museum will accomplish?

Vimal: Our hope is that our company’s support of the museum will increase WMA’s exposure into the community, leading to more people to be involved personally. We want people to know more about what the museum offers and become a part of something tangible through programs that they can be involved with hands-on, like First Saturday Family Day.

WMA: You’re a young professional. What advice to you give other young professionals looking to dig deep and become involved in their communities?

Vimal: My advice is this — age 25-40 is your time span to shape the foundation of the future of our country. There is a clear shortage of “boots on the ground” for volunteer needs, and there are so many ways for you to get involved, even at WMA. If you don’t know how, please call me or reach out on Facebook.

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Annual Reports

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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.

Throughout the year, WMA will host “Meet the Educator” days where parents and their children can come to the classroom to meet the instructor before beginning classes and camps. 2019’s schedule is as follows: January 30 from 4pm-6pm, May 29 from 4pm-6pm, and August 28 from 4pm-6pm.