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Bloomberg Philanthropies Expands Arts Engagement Initiative to Enhance Visitor Experiences Through Mobile Platforms

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the expansion of the Bloomberg Arts Engagement Initiative that provides support for mobile technology intended to increase access to the arts and enhance visitor experiences through technology. Five cultural institutions will receive a new $15 million commitment beginning in June 2013. Traditional audio guides–which have long been the default method of connecting museum-goers with exhibits–will be replaced by state-of-the art mobile guides that take advantage of cutting edge technologies like GPS and 3D imaging.

The $15 million commitment will go to five cultural institutions over a three-year period, including Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Botanical Garden, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. All of these institutions have robust public school education programs and collectively have more than 12.5 million visitors per year. This new commitment is part of the ongoing Bloomberg Arts Engagement Initiative, which has committed a total of $57 million to increasing engagement with arts institutions globally since 1999. In addition to the five institutions receiving the new commitment, current participating institutions include: American Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Museum, Mori Art Museum, and Tate Modern Museum.

“For me, support for the arts has always been about connecting people with culture by making it as accessible as possible to the greatest number of people,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City. “Of course improving access doesn’t stop once people get in the door. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing funds for leading institutions to create visitor experiences that are as revolutionary as the exhibits themselves. Through cutting-edge technology, institutions like the Guggenheim can provide visitors with the kind of experience that before would only be possible with the help of a seasoned curator.” Bloomberg began supporting audio guides in museums in 1999 to expand access to the arts and increase understanding of exhibitions. The Bloomberg Arts Engagement Initiative continues this support by providing funding to build a more dynamic experience and engaging the public with the arts in a new way. Bloomberg funded mobile apps will provide audio and video content, interviews with curators and artists, access to maps, paperless ticketing and much more. The apps are also integrated with the museums’ websites so the public will be able to access the content anywhere and any time.

Today, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum released an updated mobile app, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, in advance of the James Turrell exhibition opening June 21st. The app features rich multimedia guides, educational tours and the ability for users to create their own virtual collection by selecting favorite works from the museum’s holdings and special exhibitions and is free for download at

“The Guggenheim app is an essential educational tool that will enhance the understanding and appreciation of the permanent collection and special exhibitions, not only within our museum walls, but also around the world,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “The Guggenheim is proud to offer the app free of charge and is extremely grateful to Bloomberg for their support.”

Other Bloomberg supported mobile apps from Art Institute of Chicago, The New York Botanical Garden, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art will launch through 2014.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $370 million was distributed. For more information, please visit