The Wiregrass Museum of Art plans to use money from the state arts council to create more access for artists and the community.
The Alabama Council on the Arts awarded the museum two grants totaling $11,200 to support public art programming, artist residencies and the museum’s juried art exhibit held every two years.
A portion of the grant will allow the museum to eliminate the artist submission fee for its “B20: Wiregrass Biennial,” hopefully expanding the reach of the exhibition across the Southeast and increasing access for interested artists, says a news release from the museum.
The 2018 “Wiregrass Biennial” featured works by 41 artists from eight states, more than half of them from Alabama artists.
“It’s important that we continue to address barriers to access at the museum, whether that is for members of our community or the artists we work with,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, the museum’s director and curator. “By eliminating the submission fee for ‘B20,’ we expect to engage with even more artists across the Southeast, offering an opportunity to exhibit their work and to connect with our visitors.”
The museum also will use grant money to award three cash prizes of $1,000 each for artists selected for a Judge’s Choice Award, a People’s Choice Award, and a new Alabama artist prize.
A call-to-artists for the exhibit will be issued in early 2020, and works will be selected by a jury comprised of members of the regional arts community, the release says. Public programming for the “B20” exhibition, which will open in July, will include artists talks, workshops and even performances by artists.
Along with the biennial, the grant funding will allow the museum to host more nontraditional programs like artist residencies and public art during 2020.
“We often support artists in the creation of new work for exhibitions and projects inside the walls of the museum and are expanding this idea to activate the public space,” Lemmer said. “Art often crosscuts critical social issues, and our resident artists in 2020 will develop work alongside community members.”
The museum plans to host artist residencies with Montgomery-based photographer Sydney Foster, who previously exhibited her photographs at the museum; Birmingham contemporary artist Lily Reeves, who will create neon light installations around Dothan; and Atlanta performance artist and Dothan native Porter Grubbs.
Showing support for regional artists while creating new art experiences for the public led the Alabama Council on the Arts to support the Wiregrass Museum of Art’s efforts, he news release says.
“ASCA chooses to support this round of projects because both the ‘B20: Wiregrass Biennial’ and public art and artist residencies programs demonstrate a commitment to fostering excellence and professionalism in regional artists, providing access to the arts for Alabamians of all experiences, and shaping the community by including art and artists to revitalize public spaces,” said Amy Jenkins, the visual arts program manager and gallery director for the Alabama Council on the Arts.
Located in downtown Dothan, the Wiregrass Museum of Art is open to visitors from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturdays. General admission is free. Private tours with guided art activities in the studio can be arranged by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays. Visit wiregrassmuseum.org for more information.