DOTHAN, Alabama – June 18, 2019 – The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) is pleased to announce it has received three separate grant awards totaling $15,800 to be used for existing art education programs in the coming year. WMA received a $9,300 micro-grant award from Wiregrass Foundation for summer outreach camps with partner organizations, as well as student scholarships for camps held at WMA; $5,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation for Bus on Us, a program to pay transportation costs for field trips to the museum by pre-K-12 students from Dothan City and Houston County schools; and $1,500 from the Southeast Alabama Community Foundation (SACF) for the Bus on Us program and for further development of WMA’s online educator resources.
All of the grants will support programs that fulfill WMA’s mission to provide innovative educational programs that engage diverse audiences, and they will ensure greater accessibility to the museum’s full spectrum of resources for students and educators in the Wiregrass area and around the state.
“We are proud to work with nonprofits who impact the quality of life in our community,” said Cindy Bedsole, Wiregrass Foundation’s vice president of administration and grants management.
WMA plans to offer outreach camps to approximately 150 students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Wiregrass from July 8-12 at WMA. This camp will offer hands-on instruction, materials, and a positive classroom environment as students create works in watercolor, printmaking, textiles, clay, and mixed media. Museum staff will work side-by-side with the club’s staff and volunteers to meet students’ diverse learning needs.
The Hawk Houston Youth Enrichment Center outreach camps will serve approximately 30 students, sending the museum’s art educators and volunteers to their facility once a week for five weeks over the summer, in addition to a visit to WMA on July 2nd for a museum tour and clay class. WMA will be an active part of summer learning at Hawk Houston YEC, and will attend their end of summer exhibition and talent show on July 25th.
This is the third year WMA has partnered with both organizations to provide summer outreach programs.
With expanded funding for outreach opportunities, WMA will also provide classes each Wednesday for seven weeks to youth participating in summer programs with the Dothan Housing Authority. The outreach camp expects to reach up to 30 students per week, ranging in age from six to 12.
“Our summer outreach schedule enables us to make connections with area youth who have little exposure to the arts, many of whom live within walking distance of the museum. In addition to exposing the students to new and varying mediums, I hope to emphasize that art is for everyone and that WMA is a safe and welcoming environment open to all,” said Brook McGinnis, WMA’s art educator in charge of all outreach programs.
The grant awards from both the Wells Fargo Foundation and the Southeast Alabama Community Foundation will partly fund WMA’s existing Bus on Us program, available to all schools in the Dothan City and Houston County systems.
Since the 2017-18 academic year, the museum’s Bus on Us program has brought more than 2,700 students to WMA for museum tours and hands-on art activities in the studio. The program ensures that each school receives reimbursement for eight buses covering a system-approved cost of mileage and bus driver time to the museum, during and after the museum tour, for up to three hours. For some students, these field trips are their first opportunity to visit a museum of any kind; and for those who attend schools without formal art programs, Bus on Us allows them to have a unique, hands-on art experience not available to them in their regular classrooms.
The support from both the Wells Fargo Foundation and SACF is critical in allowing WMA to continue this important program that reaches thousands of public-school students in our community.
“Wells Fargo is proud to support the Wiregrass Museum of Art by providing transportation and access to programs for Houston County and Dothan City schools students,” said Chris Tracy, Wells Fargo region bank president.
“Hands-on educational programs like the ones offered by the museum give the schools a way to enrich student learning,” said Tracy.
Additionally, a portion of the award from SACF will be dedicated to the continued development of online educator resources available free of cost to all K-12 teachers in the state of Alabama on WMA’s website. Each digital lesson plan is based on a piece in the museum’s permanent collection and includes student learning objectives, with Alabama Learning Exchange standards, step-by-step activity instructions, a glossary of terms, and more. Lessons cover many fields of study — art, English, science, technology, math, and social studies — and are easily customized by instructors for classroom use.
With funds from SACF, WMA’s art educators will be able to expand the existing 12 online lessons to 20.
Central Alabama Community Foundation was established in 1987 by a group of local civic leaders. Their vision was to create a permanent charitable foundation to support various opportunities and needs in the Montgomery area.
CACF was founded 30 years ago and has grown to hold over $65 million in charitable assets while distributing over $55 million to organizations that serve the community. CACF serves several counties including Autauga, Coffee, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, Macon, and Montgomery.
The Wiregrass Museum of Art inspires a lifelong appreciation for the visual arts by providing innovative educational programs that engage diverse audiences through the collection and exhibition of quality works. Since its founding in 1988, WMA has offered educational programs, nationally-acclaimed art exhibitions and community events throughout the year. Its Board of Trustees guides the long-term vision and strategic goals, while its membership, City and County support, and grant funding provide the resources needed to fulfill its mission.
WMA’s galleries are open to the public every Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. General admission is always free. Private tours with guided art activities in the studio can be arranged by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. For tour information, visit wiregrassmuseum.org/museum-tours.