There is no need to catch the train or battle traffic on the beltway in order to visit renowned works of art. From European old masters to 19th century Americanism to modernism, it can be found with just a short trip to Washington County, Maryland!
The vision of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (WCMFA) is to awaken, inspire, and uplift the people of the Mid-Atlantic regions through the transformative power of art. The Museum of Fine Arts aims to stimulate creativity, inspire ideas, and enable people to explore and grow through access to the history of art, active art-making, and social connectedness.
Give us a brief description of your business and what you do.
The Museum of Fine Arts is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Admission to the Museum is free and its collection includes over 6,500 works of art.
Changing exhibitions are developed from the museum’s permanent collection and through traveling exhibition opportunities. The museum regularly offers art opportunities for students of all ages through tours, arts and cultural festivals, special events, studio art classes, art historical lectures, and concerts. The WCMFA is funded through support from museum membership and annual fund donations by the public, grants from the business and corporate communities, and support from Washington County, the City of Hagerstown, private foundations, and the Maryland State Arts Council.
What makes WCMFA stand out?
The museum is a one-of-a kind arts organization in our region. Nationally recognized, the facility includes 11 art galleries, a central Atrium for special events, a concert gallery, outdoor sculpture garden and 50 acres of beautiful City Park with trails, a pond, playground and picnic areas. The museum is also the City Park anchor for Hagerstown’s new Cultural Trail.
What is a typical day like at your business?
The museum is fast-paced, creative, high energy, with many changing exhibitions, educational programming, social events, festivals and walk-in visitation. Last year, we had over 48,000 visitors from 48 states and 27 foreign countries.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
The museum director has served in art museum leadership positions for over 30 years and has her M. A. in Art History with specialized training in non-profit management. The curator holds a PhD in Art History and is published in the field of art history. The Art Museum Educator holds an MFA degree as well as a degree in art education, and taught art and supervised art curriculum for over 30 years. Other museum staff are trained in photography, design, marketing, business management, fundraising, security, facilities management and public relations.
What is the best part about what you do? Most Challenging?
As a non-profit organization which offers free admission to the public, the museum annually raises over $500,000 to support its creative programming, free admission, changing exhibitions, special events and building/security upkeep. Staff and volunteers interact with the public on a daily basis and it’s great to greet and interact with the many people who visit the museum, especially on weekends.
What changes do you see happening in your business in the next year? In the next five years?
Next year, the museum will be refurbishing one of its main exhibition galleries…focusing on American art from colonial times to the present. We are also developing an exciting year of changing exhibitions and programming including upcoming exhibitions such as: “BAM! It’s A Picture Book! The Art Behind Graphic Novels” Danny Lyon Photographs, paintings and sculpture by DC artist Carol Brown Goldberg, and The Paintings of Jack Boul.
Who are your customers? Please describe them to us.
Museum audiences are diverse and are unified by their passion for art. While the WCMFA is located in Washington County, 21% of visitors originate beyond a 50 mile radius of the museum, and over the past five years, the WCMFA has received visits from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 41 Foreign Countries.
The Museum of Fine Arts partners with other artistic, cultural and educational institutions in the region such as the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts (a public high school for the arts), Washington County Arts Council, Maryland Theatre, Antietam National Battlefield Park, Appalachian Trail and more. Additionally, we partner with several boutique farms with specialized products available as part of the fresh and local food movement. And lastly, we work with higher education institutions including Hagerstown Community College, University Systems of Maryland-Hagerstown, Frostburg State University, Hood College, and Shepherd University.
What matters most to you in your business?
Remembering that the art collections are held in the public trust and that we are here to facilitate creative encounters between people and art.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.