Letter from the Director – Summer 2022
Dear Friends and Members,
The museum is buzzing this summer! Between in-house camps, outreach and tours with community partners, and classes and workshops with visiting artists, WMA’s mission of lifelong learning can be seen on a daily basis. The most exciting thing about these programs, for me, is the opportunity for students of all ages to learn about art. They get to meet artists and, most importantly, are given space to imagine things they never thought could be possible. WMA is providing 430 Wiregrass students with hands-on learning experiences at no cost to them over the summer months through outreach programs.
Art, and our relationships with artists, is an important part of our educational practice and the excitement I hear from our students everyday when they see something new tells me they know how important it is, too! We’re also opening new exhibitions including B22: Wiregrass Biennial, which features 38 artists from 7 states across the Southeast. This work, all made within the past 3 years, showcases the ideas that contemporary artists are interested in during this moment in time. The exhibition will include painting, sculpture, mixed media, and installation and will provide opportunities for several cash prizes to support artists’ studio practice. Other exhibitions this quarter include Mary Ann Sampson: Puppets and Poetry and Make Others See: Selected Works from WMA’s Teaching Artists. To be the first to see the work, and to meet the artists in person, I encourage you to attend Art After Hours on July 21.
This summer marks an exciting return to our annual event Yard Party for Art! On August 13, the yard will be on fire – it is the HOTTEST party of the year, after all. This year’s event will include regional and national musical acts, innovative and immersive art installations, and a virtual reality experience featuring a built environment specific to the event. Yard Party for Art exemplifies WMA’s mission of connecting our community with the art and artists of our time, and by supporting artists creatively and financially, we are expanding the work we do year-round with contemporary artists.
Next year marks WMA’s 35th anniversary and, as we continue to welcome tens of thousands of guests each year, we can clearly see the long-term impact of the museum’s presence in the Wiregrass. We know that “Art Elevates the Everyday” and as we reflect on the past three and a half decades we have demonstrated how WMA elevates our entire region. Not merely an attraction, WMA actively makes the Wiregrass a better place to live, learn, and work. As we look forward to this monumental anniversary the museum is taking steps to improve and ensure the continued pursuit of lifelong learning, community-building, and cultural sharing by pursuing national accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), which champions museums through advocacy and provides museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to move the field forward.
Our bold vision for the future is exciting and attainable! Once achieved, accreditation opens doors of opportunity for WMA to access art and artists from major institutions across the country, expand educational initiatives, and strategic partnerships, elevating the Wiregrass as a national destination. As we work towards these remarkable goals, our standards of excellence drive WMA’s commitment to support the art and artists of our time, inspiring creativity and innovation, making us the catalyst for Dothan’s transformation through the arts.
I see the power of art at work at WMA and in our community everyday. I hope to see you at the museum soon and often!
Executive Director and Curator