DOTHAN, AL – May 12, 2021 – The Wiregrass Museum of Art recently received a grant award totaling $19,296 from Dothan’s Wiregrass Foundation to be used in support of the museum’s long-running First Saturday Family Day program and Wiregrass-area summer outreach programs, which will begin in June.
WMA will dedicate $9,296 of the award to First Saturday Family Day, which museum staff have adapted over the last year to continue to serve children and families in the Wiregrass community. During the closure of the museum due to COVID health precautions, each month education staff provided video instruction of an art project that could be completed with supplies commonly found around the house. The videos were posted on social media and WMA’s YouTube channel.
In an effort to reach more children and families who might not have regular access to the internet, in February of this year the program transitioned to free art kits that participants could pick up at the museum’s reception desk every first Saturday of the month. Each kit contains instructions for an art project suitable for children of all ages, as well as all supplies needed to complete the project.
The distribution of First Saturday Family Day art kits will continue through the end of the year, and WMA will open its studio to full capacity for in-person gatherings in January of 2022. At that time, the museum will launch a new art supply library. The library will provide free, high-quality supplies, takeaway kits, and mystery bags for anyone visiting the museum to take home. It will also incorporate a ‘take one, leave one’ approach to cultivate a communal sense of giving and participation.
“Everyone in our community deserves access to art, and WMA is a resource for all Wiregrass residents. We continue to innovate and adapt in order to provide the best-quality service to our neighbors and partners across the region,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, WMA’s executive director. “Art education is a core value of WMA’s mission and we appreciate the Wiregrass Foundation’s partnership in increasing access to arts and in creating more equitable disbursement of these valuable, educational resources.”
The remaining $10,000 of the Wiregrass Foundation award will help fund summer outreach programs with several local partners. WMA staff will teach in-person camps at the Hawk-Houston Youth Enrichment Center, as well as provide “camp-in-a-kit” art kits for summer camps and other programs hosted by Dothan City Schools, the City of Dothan Leisure Services, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Wiregrass, the Ozark Boys & Girls Club, the Fort Rucker School Age Center, and the Eufaula City Schools’ 21st Century Summer Learning Program. In total, the museum aims to distribute 2,000 art kits by the end of the summer.
Camp offerings, both in person and through “camp-in-a-kit,” will offer lessons and activities in oil pastels, watercolors, weaving, mixed media collage, and other mediums. The investment from the Wiregrass Foundation will provide opportunities for students to receive much-need resources for learning during the summer months, giving them advanced preparation to begin the 2021-22 school year.
“The Wiregrass Foundation recognizes the importance of art to our community, culture, and quality of life for our area. The work WMA is doing to provide creative opportunities for the people of the Wiregrass through summer outreach programs and First Saturday Family Day is important to our community. The Wiregrass Foundation is proud to support these efforts,” said Troy Fountain, the Foundation’s president.
WMA continues to seek new ways to provide access to the visual arts to all people in the Wiregrass community and beyond. With the financial support of organizations like the Wiregrass Foundation, the museum hopes to continue to improve the quality of life of those living in our community through the arts.
About the Wiregrass Foundation
The mission of the Wiregrass Foundation is “to energize the spirit and potential of our local community through charitable investments that will have significant, measurable impact on our health, education and quality of life.”
About the Wiregrass Museum of Art