Dear Friends and Members,
WMA has seen tremendous growth in the past year, including a 13% increase in quarterly attendance from this time last year, a 72% increase in student artwork submissions for Youth Art Month, and a 24% increase in member households and 126% increase in corporate membership.
These are exciting times at your museum, and we are celebrating the growing support in the Wiregrass for a strong presence from the arts. Regardless of the type – visual, performing, musical, craft, etc. – the arts have a transformative power for people and their communities every day. WMA is a community anchor that serves the public and educates students of all ages; we are an economic engine, and most importantly, we are for everyone.
While education and strong artist-centric programming is at our core, WMA is an important place for our community to gather together and to share our stories with one another. Our exhibitions include works by some of the most talented artists in our region, and their work can stand on its own. But the artwork we show can also serve as a tool for problem solving and for civic dialogue. According to Americans for the Arts, “Considering art means considering our history, our heritage, our politics, the way we learn—in short, the arts are part of everything, and play a role in all aspects of the human experience.”1
The arts are a powerful force for community engagement and constructive dialogue.
You’ve heard us talking about Alabama’s Bicentennial since 2017, and this year at WMA, we are celebrating stories from across the Wiregrass region. Last quarter, we looked at the stories of some of our most vulnerable community members with an exhibition titled Home: Where I Live. This quarter, we are collaborating with partners across the Wiregrass to explore themes related to war and violence in conjunction with Continuum: 1808 to 2017/Goya to Erdreich; later in the year we’ll be exploring Native American stories from the region and the culture of travel. And, of course, we’ll continue to collect your stories throughout 2019 at StoriesOfTheWiregrass.com.
The presence of the arts in any community manifests in a strong feeling of civic pride, offers innovative ways of problem solving, and, ultimately, catalyzes change. WMA is fortunate to be one of many stellar arts organizations in Dothan, and we appreciate your continued support in helping us to succeed and grow. I hope that each of you will take the time to join us this quarter, and throughout the year, in discovering the unique stories here in the Wiregrass!
Director and Curator