August 6, 2018

New Museum Awarded $660,000 Knight Foundation Grants for Its NEW INC Initiative

NEW YORK—NEW INC, the cultural incubator program founded by the New Museum in New York, has received a $660,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will allow it to extend its technology-focused track for an additional two years. This is the second major gift the initiative has been awarded by the foundation, which gave NEW INC $250,000 in 2017.

“To increase audience interest and engagement in the digital age, museums need access to products and services that help to make technology part of their culture,” Victoria Rogers, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation vice president for arts, said in a statement. “The New Inc program offers the space, resources, and community for entrepreneurs to experiment with and develop the kind of innovation that changes mindsets and systems.”

During the twelve-month program’s inaugural year, a group of artists, engineers, thought leaders, and other creatives attended professional development workshops, meetings with mentors, and other events in order to come up with ways to better integrate technology into the cultural sector. The cohort traveled to three cities—Detroit, Miami, and Philadelphia—visited dozens of museums, and met with staff to discuss the challenges they face when trying to find new applications for technology at their institutions. They later presented their findings at a conference in New York.

Projects from the first year included modular virtual reality exhibition pods by the Digital Museum of Digital Art (DiMoDA); an online collaboration tool by Bika Rebek that helps museum professionals execute exhibitions; an exhibition design prototype by Studio TheGreenEyl that aims to bring digital collections back into physical spaces; and a digital archive by Raycaster that features memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 world’s fairs.

The second cohort, which will complete projects from 2018 through 2019, comprises Abstract Nomadic Media, a New York–based film production company that is working to develop an augmented reality app that would provide museum visitors with an alternative way to view video art; Dot Dot, which will explore affordable virtual reality solutions for museums; and Movers and Shakers, a coalition that organizes and carries out actions and advocacy campaigns for marginalized communities using virtual and augmented realities.

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