An Annual Fund Message from our Director
Dear Members and Friends,
Thank you for your generous past support of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Your past support helped us to navigate the challenges of 2021 and rise to the unique demands of serving the public through a pandemic. It’s been difficult, but the museum staff and volunteers have all learned new skills that will serve the museum and the community into the future. Now, in our 90th anniversary year, we can look back at twelve months of shared learning and accomplishment.
We also presented a stellar exhibition program—with National Endowment for the Arts funding we researched, organized and brought to Hagerstown the largest group of Joshua Johnson paintings seen together since 1988. We also published a significant (and beautiful) catalogue to accompany the exhibition and provide a lasting legacy of the scholarship that went into the show. Simultaneously, the museum hosted its first large-scale exhibition of Old Master paintings since 1965, Bernini & the Roman Baroque: Masterpieces from Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia. It provided a wonderful platform for a fun summer of increased visitation and dynamic public programs (including our culinary collaboration with the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College for our online cooking series “ArtBites”). We also continued supporting regional artists and local youth education through our annual Cumberland Valley Artists and Photographers exhibitions and our delightful spring exhibition of the work of Washington County Public School (WCPS) students.
Although the WCPS exhibition was online for the second year, one of our proudest moments was receiving a letter from an 8th-grader thanking us for holding the exhibition online, “Having the art show gave me motivation during the pandemic to continue drawing and not let any art skills I have disappear.” She went on to explain that art was for her, a constructive alternative to video games, and also a way to relax and feel better during a time when schooling was disrupted.
Often, it’s hard to measure the exact impact of museums. We can count the number of people through our doors—but our biggest impact is personal, and it’s in the way we touch people’s individual lives. It could be as simple as an hour of quiet respite in our galleries, or it might be developing skills and talent in art classes, or perhaps it’s an intellectual impact—engaging with new ideas and cultures through the artwork on display, or programs we offer.
Through the indispensable support of donors like you we have inspiring plans for increasing our educational impact in 2022. One big accomplishment this year was hiring a full-time Director of Education who is now focusing on plans to increase outreach to rural youth and seniors, as well as continuing to develop programs, like our afterschool partnership with Bester Community of Hope, which bring engaging, impactful museum and art experiences to some of the neediest young people in our community.
We have also built an impressive library of digital offerings over the past months—lectures, conversations, art projects for children, and even cooking classes—that expand on the MFA’s collections and exhibitions.
I hope you personally enjoy, and are enriched by, the work we do through our exhibitions and programs, but I also know that your support helps us to reach out and connect with others who may not be capable of financially supporting the museum. Our loyal and passionate supporters have helped us continue free admission and many free art programs for 90 years. Because of this, the MFA is able to broadly enhance the quality of life in the four-state region. Your Annual Fund gifts shows that you understand and value the vital role of the MFA in our community.
I find my enthusiasm for the museum echoed in the treasured place it holds for many of you, and I thank you for being a part of the work the museum does. Your support for the MFA’s Annual Fund will help us continue to increase our regional impact. You may make a contribution through our online portal , or telephone the museum at 301-739-5727 to make a gift.
With warm appreciation,