Michael Royce, the Digital Innovation in Art Award 2021 Jury Member

As the entries are now open for the award, we introduce the acknowledged jury panel. Each week one of the six members will be highlighted. Today, it is Michael Royce, the Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a national arts institution in the USA.

Consistently recognised for his leadership, Michael was named a noted nonprofit/philanthropy leader by CRAIN’s NY Business in 2021; one of the 50 top arts leaders of influence in the world by the New York Observer in 2020, the inaugural recipient of the Alan Cooper Leadership in the Arts Award presented by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in 2018, and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his overall contributions to the arts sector. 

The Digital Innovation in Art Award is about shining light on creative people who are innovating and making history by using technology within the arts. The candidacies that are submitting flabbergast our jury members each year. It is essential to bring diverse actors to the table as jury members. Each year, we are proud that leading figures in art, technology, and investment sectors rise to the challenge of finding the most cutting-edge candidate. But what is innovation for Michael Royce? 

“Innovation is when you take a need, idea, or aspiration that has been expressed or felt by everyone and create something that allows for a different, new or reimagined interpretation/execution to occur which people positively respond to and wish to incorporate in their personal or professional lives.” 

Isn’t surprising that Michael Royce accepted the role of a jury member. Royce is familiar with disruption in the arts. He has been vocal in the past about how the current global pandemic demonstrates the fragile nature of the art ecosystem. He also spoke out about the need to acknowledge artists and their contribution to the market. When we asked him why it was so crucial for him to be part of this jury, he said 

“It is a rare opportunity to explore in-depth with fellow jurors what innovation means within the digital creative space, and to be part of something set up to produce beneficial impact for those who create, participate in, or advocate for the arts.”

Challenges in the art world are multiples and some of them are deep-seated issues. Royce mentioned this in his interview with the Observer for his POWER ARTS 50 profile, a list that highlights people making the arts more accessible, diverse and viable. We ask Royce about the challenges directly related to innovation in the arts:

There are many, but the issue of access looms large.  If an innovation cannot be accessed due to barriers such as finance, technology, education, or awareness, then how much impact can the innovation have or if for some reason the innovation gets corrupted by the powerful few, then innovation can get repurposed into dangerous use.

With a month to go until the Open Call ends, we look forward to welcoming the diverse pool of applicants this year and hearing more from our Juries. 

If you want to know more about the Digital Innovation Art Award 2021 and apply now.

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.