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Wiregrass Museum of Art awarded $9,000 to support Youth Art Month

Wiregrass Museum of Art awarded $9,000 to support Youth Art Month

The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) is pleased to announce it has received grant awards totaling $9,000 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Publix Supermarket Charities, and Dothan Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics to support Youth Art Month, a national program held annually to recognize the achievements of young artists in grades K-12, and the Out of the (Art) Box program, an art installation competition for high school students held each year as part of the museum’s observance of Youth Art Month.

A combined amount of $4,000 in grants and sponsorships from The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Publix Supermarket Charities, and Dothan Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics will support WMA’s full calendar of Youth Art Month programming, and a grant award from ASCA totaling $5,000 will fund Out of the (Art) Box.

WMA’s Youth Art Month exhibition and its corresponding programs engage over 500 K-12 student participants throughout the Wiregrass region. The exhibition, which will open on March 1, showcases an average of 100 juried student artworks. WMA is also the host site for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District Artistic Discovery Competition, held annually during Youth Art Month and open to all 11th and 12th grade students living in 2nd Congressional District of Alabama. Students who participate in the exhibition have a platform of support from WMA and the larger community for their creative endeavors.

“These grants and sponsorships will elevate the museum’s ability to offer students truly unique, challenging, and educational creative learning experiences during Youth Art Month programs this spring. Partnerships with the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the business community are so important to WMA’s ongoing work, not only during Youth Art Month, but year-round, and help us continue to fulfill our mission of inspiring lifelong learning for all ages, through visual art,” said Melissa Rea, WMA’s development director.

The Out of the (Art) Box installation competition will be held at the Wiregrass Museum of Art on February 22 and 23. The two-day immersive art experience will pair four teams of five to six high school students with a professional artist mentor. Each team will be tasked with creating an art installation based on a theme given to them on the first day of the competition. The students will be provided limited art supplies, construction tools, and a work space within the museum’s galleries to design and build their installation under the guidance of their mentor, who will encourage a free exchange of ideas among team members and provide practical advice on the process of constructing the installations.

Out of the (Art) Box is open to students in southeast Alabama and the larger Wiregrass region, the majority of whom attend public schools without formal visual art education programs. For many of the students, Art Box will be their first opportunity to participate in a creative program in which they must use critical thinking skills in a group setting to solve a problem. For some, the program will be their first formal educational experience in a museum.

“The Alabama State Council on the Arts is proud to support WMA’s Out of the (Art) Box program. The Wiregrass Museum of Art’s staff demonstrates great dedication to creating thoughtful and dynamic educational experiences. This unique program will engage and challenge young artists from Dothan and throughout the Wiregrass, while they create meaningful relationships and mentorships with professional artists in their area. This multi-generational approach is sure to have lasting impact on the youth of the Wiregrass for many years to come. Citizens of Dothan should be pleased with the good work that WMA is doing in the community. I encourage everyone to visit the WMA in March for their Youth Art Month exhibit and programming,” said Amy Williamson, the visual arts program manager at ASCA.

Art Box teams will compete for two cash prizes — the People’s Choice ($250), selected by the program’s participants, and the Judge’s Choice ($500) –to go towards their school’s existing visual art club or to help found a new visual art club at their school.

An opening reception for Youth Art Month will be held on February 28 from 5 -7 p.m., during which WMA will announce several Youth Art Month merit award winners, as will as the winning teams from the Out of the (Art) Box competition. The reception is free and open to the public.

Youth Wright Night will be held as part of Youth Art Month programming on March 7 from 5 – 7 p.m. It is open to students in 6th through 12th grades. Participants are encouraged to prepare an original piece, not to exceed five minutes in length when presented. Works can be individual or collaborations – poetry, skits, fiction, non-fiction, humor, commentary, and beyond. Youth Write Night is free and open to the public.

The Youth Art Month exhibition will be open from March 1 through March 30 at the WMA, located at 126 Museum Avenue in downtown Dothan.

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