WMA’s new fall events draw large crowds
In celebration of its upcoming 35th anniversary, the Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) debuted two new fall events this past weekend, The Glass Pumpkin Party, and The Pumpkin Patch, a free family art festival. These events provided fun, unique opportunities for area residents and families to experience artmaking by learning directly from artists. WMA’s slate of anniversary-related events will run through spring of 2023, with a variety of activities and programs centered around the museum’s mission and role in the Wiregrass region. These events, in addition to the Pajama Ball, an upcoming New Year’s Eve party, and spring events focusing on collections exhibitions, are designed to give back to the Wiregrass community in celebration of the milestone 35th anniversary.
The Glass Pumpkin Party, held on Friday, October 28th, was an evening event, where attendees experienced live glass blowing demonstrations and a one-of-a-kind glass art installation of more than 300 glass and ceramic pumpkins created by Hot Glass Academy artists Devan Cole, Forrest Buford, and Kate O’Toole. Glass and ceramic pumpkins were also available for purchase at this exclusive first look preview, and proceeds supported both the artists and WMA. Attendees who purchased these glass and ceramic works were excited to begin or add to their art collection with pieces from regional artists. And, two lucky attendees won glass pumpkins as part of the event raffle!
The following morning, WMA’s team of staff, board members, and volunteers welcomed area residents and visitors to The Pumpkin Patch, a free family art festival held in the museum’s garden from 10am-3pm. Families received and painted pumpkins, created custom bags to hold their treats, and enjoyed artmaking stations throughout the garden, including 3-D paper sculpture, splatter painting, printmaking, and custom-drawn portraits in the Portrait-O-Magic! Families picnicked with free popcorn and lemonade, food trucks, and spent time playing yard games.
Students with Dothan Tech’s Pre-Engineering program showed how their work combines creativity and innovation through laser woodcutting, 3D printing, and drone demonstrations, and local teaching artist Aimee Burr demonstrated marbling techniques. Our artist partners, Hot Glass Academy wowed groups with live demonstrations of glass blowing, with a mobile, live furnace and great crowd interaction, explaining techniques, tools, and the art and science of glass art.
In all, almost 1,600 people attended these new fall events at WMA, a smashing success for the artists involved and for the museum’s outreach. Events like these reinforce a sense of belonging and community pride at WMA, for those new to the area and for long-time residents. The artmaking and artist-centered activities inspire creativity and curiosity for visitors of all ages, and help sustain a connection between the museum and its local residents.
The Pumpkin Patch, a free family art festival, was generously supported by regional business sponsors Coldwell Banker Alfred Saliba Realty, Dothan Pediatric Health Network, and Five Star Credit Union. The Harbor, a community partner, provided free pumpkins, popcorn, equipment, and yard games for attending families. Additionally, the Alabama State Council on the Arts supported artist demonstrations from Hot Glass Academy through a project grant. WMA also thanks its many volunteers, and Danielle and Justin Hovey for in-kind donations.