The Queens Museum is among 46 cultural nonprofit organizations selected for a new $30 million program by Bloomberg Philanthropies that is intended to support improving technology at the groups and helping them stabilize and thrive in the wake of the pandemic. A Bloomberg Tech Fellow is being appointed at each organization, the philanthropies announced Tuesday.
Heryte Tequame, assistant director of communications and digital projects at the museum, was chosen as its fellow in what is known as the Digital Accelerator program and will be in charge of developing a digital project of her choice. In an interview she said that in 2020, the museum “realized where we needed to expand our capacity and invest more.”
“I think now we’re really taking the time to see what we can do that has longevity,” Tequame said. “And not just being responsive, but really being proactive and having a real future-facing strategy.”
The organizations don’t know exactly how much of the $30 million each will receive yet, but Tequame said she wants to use at least some of it on the museum’s permanent collection.
Another recipient, Harlem Stage, selected Deirdre May, senior director of digital content and marketing, as its tech fellow.
That performing arts center — which largely focuses on artists of color — aims to use the assistance in part to increase accessibility, Patricia Cruz, its chief executive and artistic director, said in an interview. “People who cannot leave their homes, for example, would be able to see some of the finest artistic performances that could be made,” Cruz said, because “that’s the core of what we do.”
The 46 organizations selected for the program include nonprofits in the United States and Britain. Among them are 26 in the United States, and 17 of those are in New York City, including the Apollo Theater, the Ghetto Film School and the Tenement Museum. The chief executive of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Patricia E. Harris, said in a statement that when the pandemic hit, cultural organizations had to get creative to keep their (virtual) doors open.
“Now we’re excited to launch the Accelerator program to help more arts organizations sustain innovations and investments,” Harris said, “and strengthen tech and management practices that are key to their long-term success.”
As Cruz from Harlem Stage put it, “We’re ready to be accelerated.”