WMA Update: A Bold Vision for the Future

Next year marks WMA’s 35th anniversary and as I reflect on the museum’s history, I’m grateful for early supporters who wanted the best for their community and who worked tirelessly to found our museum. Their vision for Dothan included the arts, and look how far we’ve come. It’s clear that “Art Elevates the Everyday”; and that WMA elevates our community and our region. Not merely an attraction, WMA actively makes the Wiregrass a better place to live, learn, and work.

I’m reminded of an exhibition we hosted a few years ago with artist Doug Baulos, titled “Alabama Reckoner”. In this exhibition, they presented intricate, mixed media installations representing portraits of other Alabama artists – the idea being that Alabama has connected them all. They also included a statement in the exhibition that continues to resonate with me today:

There are many things in Alabama that you have never dreamed of…

I think about this statement a lot, and as we plan for the long term sustainability of WMA, and just like early supporters who dreamed of a new art museum, we aspire to be even more for the next generation. A longtime supporter of the museum told me recently that WMA was “more than they had ever dreamed it would be.” It’s true that over the years, we’ve increased our reach, expanded programming, and remained committed to free admission. I’m sure it’s the transformative power of art at play. WMA is a place where creativity and innovation live and our shared commitment to excellence has remained constant all of these years.

It’s because of this, as we look forward to our 35th year anniversary, that WMA 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), a mark of distinction in the museum field achieved by less than 4% of museums in the U.S.. Last year, we participated in the nationally recognized Museum Assessment Program (MAP) to see where the gaps were in our organization. The MAP Report now serves as a roadmap to our next steps towards accreditation, and recommendations are being incorporated into WMA’s new strategic plan, which will be completed this fall; as we continue to move forward with this process, I’ll continue to update you.

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 for the arts. As we work towards these remarkable goals, WMA’s history of success positions the museum as a bold leader in Dothan’s transformation through the arts.

Best,

Dana-Marie Lemmer
Executive Director and Curator

Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.

Terms and Conditions

The Wiregrass Museum of Art reserves the right to photograph and reproduce chosen works publication, publicity, and educational purposes. Participation in this exhibition shall be an agreement on the part of the artist to these conditions. The museum reserves the right to exclude works submitted without appropriate preparation (documentation, mounting hardware, suitable frame/mat, etc.), or which are damaged or incomplete. The museum is not responsible for the safekeeping of any works left in its care ninety (90) days after the close of the exhibition.

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Mask Policy

WMA asks that all campers ages 5 and up wear a mask during their museum visit, including classes and camps. If you don’t have a mask, we can provide one for you. Exceptions can be made for those with documented respiratory or sensory issues. We thank you for protecting your fellow visitors and our staff!

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