WMA Update: Art Elevates the Everyday

As we ready for a new year, excitement continues to grow as we look ahead to our 35th year anniversary!

Since 1987, WMA has evolved from an idea to a pop-up art exhibition in a commercial mall space into an active, vibrant museum with a focus on contemporary art. The museum is a platform for artists to tell their stories and is a community gathering space where cultural sharing is encouraged among all. Our programs fulfill WMA’s aim to unify, inspire and educate audiences, and are created to reflect a diversity of ages, races, genders, cultures, and ideologies.

As you’ve hopefully heard by now, WMA is taking steps to grow and to 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. WMA, in partnership with the City of Dothan, has engaged with experts at M. Goodwin Museum Planning (MGMP) to perform an assessment for the long term needs of the museum facility and operations. MGMP, a national leader in museum planning, has more than 35 years of experience in facility and organizational planning for 150+ museums throughout the US and internationally, and we are excited to be working with them over the next few months.

One third of WMA’s daily and special event visitors come from outside the Wiregrass, bringing cultural tourists to downtown Dothan throughout the year.

Once accredited, WMA will have opportunities 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. The arts, as we all know, are a powerful tool for individual and social development, and the arts are also a transformative tool for economic development. The museum’s ability to grow, and to serve greater numbers of residents and visitors, will serve as a direct catalyst for our region’s growth for generations to come.

In recent years, WMA has raised expectations for what a small art museum can do. For us, this begins with building trust within our Wiregrass community.

WMA partnered with 13 organizations in 2021 for outreach programs, serving groups of diverse ages and needs. 

We’ve created opportunities for learning in and beyond the classroom by consistently working alongside educators and students to connect them to high-quality and engaging arts learning resources, advocating for the role of the visual arts as an essential component of comprehensive education. Strategic partnerships and outreach programs invite the community to become more involved in long-term initiatives at WMA, and have allowed us to build a strong, multigenerational base of support. Art museums worldwide are adapting to ever-changing audience needs and expectations, and WMA has utilized strategic planning, innovative programming, and technology to remain relevant and to provide excellent resources for our diverse constituents.

Artists have lent their voices to support intentional, forward-thinking arts programming. We prioritize creative expression and give artists agency and freedom to realize new ideas, to experiment, and to work directly with the public. Exhibitions and programs have provided the platform for important conversations on race relations, history, housing and homelessness, veterans’ issues, mental health, women’s rights, and civic freedoms, among other topics. Our commitment to internal best practices and industry standards is evident in our recent successes in collections stewardship.

WMA’s ongoing work in collections care has been supported this year by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

WMA has secured financial support and professional expertise through multiple and ongoing awards from Alabama State Council on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and Collections Assessment for Preservation Program (CAP), providing the museum with in-depth reports from museum professionals and field experts on the condition of our collections as well as challenges related to the facility. Those challenges identified have served as a baseline for our current facility and operations needs assessment with MGMP, which will conclude by the end of this year. We’ll continue to work over the coming months, identifying the specific needs for a state of the art museum that will serve the public at the highest levels.

 

‘Art elevates the everyday’, and WMA elevates our community’s ability to move into a rapidly changing future with confidence. We imagine a future in which our art museum transforms its city and region with creativity and innovation, actively improving opportunities for people to grow personally and professionally.

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

Best,

Dana-Marie Lemmer
Executive Director

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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