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WMA receives $13,000 in grants to support summer outreach programs and First Saturday Family Day

WMA receives $13,000 in grants to support summer outreach programs and First Saturday Family Day

WMA is pleased to announce it has been awarded grants from local foundations to support two programs, including summer outreach programs and the museum’s longest running program, First Saturday Family Day.

“These programs reflect the museum’s core mission to inspire lifelong learning for all ages. WMA’s programs are part of a comprehensive educational plan to provide access to the arts for our youngest residents, seniors, and families, and we’re grateful for support from Wiregrass Foundation and the Southeast Alabama Community Foundation,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, the museum’s executive director and curator.

Wiregrass Foundation awarded WMA $10,000 for its summer outreach programs, which will help fund art camp experiences and field trips with several local partners: the Hawk-Houston Youth Enrichment Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Wiregrass, the Ozark Boys & Girls Club, and Time Youth Impact Center.

“It has been our pleasure to support the WMA arts program that allows children access to the arts, who may not otherwise have the experience,” said Cindy Bedsole, vice president of programming of Wiregrass Foundation.

Through this grant, a total of 430 students from partnering organizations will visit WMA over the summer months. Students will experience guided tours through the museum’s galleries, exploring art from WMA’s collections and temporary exhibitions; these tours focus on inquiry-based learning and multiple disciplines, including STEAM, visual art, Alabama history, and creative writing. Each group will spend time creating artwork with high-quality supplies in the museum’s studio as a part of their trip, and will take home supply kits to continue to explore self-expression and creativity after their camp experience.

WMA will also provide students at the Hawk Houston Youth Enrichment Center with an on-site camp at their location, structured to fit the needs of the center’s daily schedule over six weeks. The camp experience will conclude with a field trip to WMA, to experience newly opened exhibitions and studio artmaking in late July.

Additionally, this grant creates an opportunity for 14 scholarship seats for the museum’s paid, in-house summer camps, 2 at each of its 7 camps in June and July. Museum staff will provide these spots to students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds by working with partners at Dothan City Schools, Dothan Housing Authority, Dothan Leisure Services, and the museum’s Community Advisory Committee, to identify students who would benefit from this opportunity. Scholarship applications are available at wiregrassmuseum.org/camps, and in person at the Wiregrass Museum of Art.

These summer outreach efforts will primarily serve students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds, who statistically have less access to experiential learning during the summer like their peers; special camps, travel, and enriching cultural activities are often inaccessible to them. WMA’s commitment to providing access to the arts is exemplified in this outreach project, and in its approach to partnership with area organizations. Of particular importance to this long-term partnership between WMA and area organizations is the long-term impact that is created for students who are participating in them on a multi-year basis. Outreach with WMA provides participating students with the opportunity to build their technical, artistic, and social skills, and open up the visual arts as a viable avenue for self-expression and creativity.

A second grant, in the amount of $3,000, was awarded to WMA from the Southeast Alabama Community Foundation for the First Saturday Family Day program. This program is held each first Saturday of the month in the museum’s studio, and is a free, monthly art workshop for residents and visitors of all ages to cultivate creativity and innovation, and find meaningful social connection through shared artmaking.

“We’re proud to be able to play a small part in helping this amazing organization bring art workshops to local families. This grant is a result of generous donors who support investments in the Wiregrass region,” said Burton Crenshaw, president of the Southeast Alabama Community Foundation.

Specifically, this program provides 4 hours each first Saturday of the month for residents to interact directly with artists and art educators, creating opportunities to learn artistic skills and techniques and explore their own creativity. Each month offers a different, free hands-on activity, and program participants are encouraged to learn alongside their family members in the studio and from exhibitions throughout the museum. Activities include painting and drawing, weaving, art bookmaking, sculpting, mixed media, collage, and more. This program will serve approximately 1,200 Wiregrass residents in one year, many of whom live in neighborhoods surrounding WMA. First Saturday Family Day builds participants’ skills and knowledge in self-expression, visual art, history, and creates space to experience intergenerational learning.

No registration is required, and the program runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more information about WMA’s annual arts programming, visit wiregrassmuseum.org, or call (334)794-3871.

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