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WMA receives $5,000 ASCA grant for digital learning

Matt Boster

Viewed: 1227

Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Jan 31 2018 12:59 PM

DOTHAN: The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) is pleased to announce it has received grant funding in the amount of $5,000 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA). The money will be used to support the implementation of technology aids for art education programming, to include the creation and digital publication of an online curriculum based on visual art, the production of educational videos for distance learning, and the use of in-gallery tablets as exhibition components. 

The online curriculum will consist of lesson plans based on works of art from WMA's permanent collection, including instructional videos for teachers to better learn the process of presenting the material to their students. Currently, there are five interdisciplinary plans available to teachers free of cost on the museum's website, each based on Alabama Learning Exchange standards, with plans to develop 15 more.

"The Alabama State Council on the Arts is very pleased to support the work that the Wiregrass Museum is doing for classroom teachers in our schools. This project of developing online resources is exactly the kind of project we are hoping many arts organizations across the state will consider. In order to provide quality arts education to all Alabama students, we must have strong partnerships between schools and arts organizations. The resources being developed at the Wiregrass Museum are high quality and standards based, and support learning in many subject areas," said Diana Green, ASCA Arts in Education Program Manager. 

In addition to the online lesson plans, WMA will use the grant funding to explore and develop virtual field trips, along with other virtual-learning opportunities, to be available on the museum's website. Virtual field trips, in particular, are a valuable resource for rural students who may be unable to travel to an art museum, bringing the in-person museum experience into the classroom. 

"This is a critical step in the museum's plans for providing lifelong learning opportunities to our community. Our existing student tour programs provide valuable experiences for K-12 students, teaching them important skills in creative problem solving and critical thinking, but we know providing these additional educator resources will contribute to the larger conversation of workforce readiness for our students," said WMA Director and Curator Dana Marie Lemmer.

WMA will also purchase video and production equipment to film distance learning videos to include artist interviews, gallery walks with museum staff and docents, and instructional videos to explore temporary exhibitions. Additionally, the ASCA grant will allow WMA to add technology aids like tablets to its galleries to display interactive video, providing an opportunity for students and other guests to learn more about the art and artists they see during their museum visit. The tablets will also be used by museum staff to track visitor statistics.

"The availability of these digital resources and lesson plans will aid educators, many of whom are not dedicated art teachers, in meeting designated art standards each year. This is a big step for us to provide needed resources to our area, across many platforms," said Lemmer.

About the Alabama State Council on the Arts

The Mission of the Alabama State Council on the Arts is to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality for all Alabamians by providing support for the state's diverse and rich artistic resources.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants programs and provides financial assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

About the Wiregrass Museum of Art

The Wiregrass Museum of Art inspires a lifelong appreciation for the visual arts by providing innovative educational programs that engage diverse audiences through the collection and exhibition of quality works.

Since its founding in 1988, WMA has offered educational programs, nationally acclaimed art exhibitions and community events throughout the year. Its Board of Trustees guides the long-term vision and strategic goals, while its members, the City of Dothan, the Houston County Commission, and grant funding provide the resources needed to fulfill its mission. Because of the scarcity of art education in schools, the WMA Board of Trustees and staff have the responsibility to provide quality, accessible exhibitions and to reach out into the community through art education efforts. WMA fills crucial cultural needs in the Wiregrass area.

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