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WMA and City of Dothan partner in Call for Artists

DOTHAN, Ala. - The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA), in partnership with the City of Dothan, is pleased to announce a Call for Artists for a summer residency to take place between June 1 and August 31 to study transportation needs along the U.S. 84 East corridor -- a stretch of highway connecting the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Southeast Alabama Medical Center, and downtown Dothan. The primary objective of the residency is to gather information for a development plan that reflects the needs and wants of local citizens and businesses toward the realization of a livable, vibrant and financially sustainable urban corridor.

 

WMA will be given $5,000 to fund the three-month-long residency, an addition to a $50,000 Transportation for America grant awarded to the City of Dothan in July of 2017. Transportation for America is the signature transportation program administered by Smart Growth America, an organization dedicated to improving neighborhoods and communities across America.

 

The residency seeks an artist or artist collective with experience in using art as a means for social development and community building. Artists with a history of socially engaged work, especially those with experience working on a neighborhood scale and with the ability to gain the trust of communities that may hold a long-standing mistrust of government institutions, are invited to apply.

 

"We are looking for an artist who has experience or strong interest in creative placemaking as a tool to build up neighborhoods by working alongside residents. It is also ideal that they have some experience with grassroots projects, and have a genuine interest in learning from our neighbors and collecting their diverse stories," said WMA Director and Curator Dana-Marie Lemmer. 
 

The residency, which offers a flexible timeline during the three-month period, will ask the visiting artist(s) to work alongside WMA and other cultural organizations, neighborhood leaders, volunteers and students, the City of Dothan, and local artists to engage local neighborhoods in creative projects and placemaking initiatives that will allow for citizen feedback and problem solving. The visiting artist(s) will determine how information will be gathered from residents, but methods could include community dinners and gatherings, pop-up events and forums, storytelling and oral history exercises, and using visual art as a tool to share ideas. The artist(s) will be tasked with learning the everyday needs of the citizens who live and work along the corridor.

 

"WMA is the ideal partner to assist with the City's goal of engaging artists and the arts

for the purpose of creative outreach to underserved communities along the Highway 84 East Corridor. WMA has an ongoing working relationship with the City, and through partnership, will provide the requisite professional skills and experience for successful project results," said Bob Wilkerson, a long-range planner with the City of Dothan. 


"The formalization of a partnership between the City and WMA is a positive step forward in the development of a new approach to community building. Such partnerships will serve as strong and valuable assets in the future arena of funding procurement for public infrastructure," said Wilkerson.

 

WMA and the City also seek a videographer to document the summer residency program. The videographer will be expected to record the artist's activities and document the individual stories of neighbors, stakeholders, and organizers throughout the process. Shooting must be complete and a finished product must be available upon conclusion of the artist residency on August 31, 2018, and should culminate in an edited video of the project no more than six minutes in duration. In addition, raw footage will be given to organizers for a video to be produced documenting the nationwide projects supported by Transportation for America and Smart Growth America.

 

"As cities continue to struggle with entrenched challenges related to transportation, housing, and economic development, artists can provide a fresh perspective on reframing problems, thinking holistically, and experimenting with iterative solutions," said Ben Stone, Director of Arts and Culture at Smart Growth America.  

"I've seen this approach work wonders in communities across the country ranging from Los Angeles to Eastport, Maine. While not a panacea, artists can help transportation and other civic projects by translating complex processes into visual aids, interpreting communities' culture through public art, and inspiring civic participation through festivals and events. I look forward to working with the City of Dothan and the Wiregrass Museum of Art to use the arts to drive community engagement," said Stone.

 

Submissions for the artist residency program are open to all US-based artists with a history and interest in socially engaged work, and consideration will be given to visual artists, performers, musicians, and writers, among others. This project will be grassroots, and focused on DYI initiatives, with a $500 budget available for supplies, community gatherings, and pop-up events. The artist will be paid a minimum of $4,500, to include housing, for which museum personnel will help in making arrangements. 

 

A payment of $2,500 will be paid at the beginning of the project, and the remainder at the close of the program on August 31. While the timeline of when the artist should be in Dothan during the three-month period is flexible, the work must be complete by August 31, 2018, and should culminate in the presentation of their findings with recommendations for implementation. Projects should focus on short-term interventions, with the expectation that the City of Dothan will use the information to plan for permanent change.

 

Applications for the videographer position are open to all US-based video teams, and priority will be given to those with a history and interest in socially engaged work. The project budget is $5,000 with half to be paid up front, and the remainder at the close of the program. The videographer will be responsible for coordinating with the artist in charge of activities to determine a timeline for shooting.

 

"We're thrilled to partner with the City of Dothan on this initiative. This is a critical example of how art and artists can work across industries to build diverse and equitable communities with civic participation and pride at its core," said Lemmer.

 

The deadline to apply for both positions is May 20, 2018, and finalists will be notified by May 22, 2018. Interested artists should email applications, including CV, statement of interest, and examples of past work, to Dana-Marie Lemmer, Wiregrass Museum of Art Director and Curator, at dlemmer@wiregrassmuseum.org.


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