Involving and empowering local and diverse audiences at MoMI
Peoplmovr partnered with the Museum of the Moving Image to lead an ambitious two-year pilot designed to establish the Museum as a cross-cultural hub, platform, and gathering space reflecting the diversity of the borough of Queens. In FY17, based on the success of Peoplmovr’s work, MoMI sought supplemental funding to extend the initiative, which was approved.
The Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria, Queens, one of the most diverse areas in the country, wanted to reach new audiences, especially more local communities.
Peoplmovr Creative Director Geoffrey Jackson Scott led the initiative and was embedded at MoMI as Director of Engagement throughout the grant cycle. He met with MoMI staff, programming partners, government officials, city agencies, community leaders and members, filmmakers, artists, museum members and non-members to better understand how the organization was and was not serving community needs. These conversations lead to the development of policies, partnerships, and programs that strengthened existing ties and formed new ones. The most significant of these is the relationship between the Museum and the nearby Queensbridge public housing development.
Under Peoplmovr’s leadership, the Museum developed and presented over 100 programs for individuals and families from South Asian and Brazilian/Latin American immigrant communities and residents of NYCHA’s Queensbridge Houses. Our work required collaboration with local consulates and many cultural and community organizations and leaders, resulting in programs that resonated with members of these communities.
In Year One, the Initiative functioned like an innovation lab, experimenting with ways to reach the goal of a more open Museum that speaks to and engages a broader public. Indeed, it was in Year One that the idea for programs in public housing was born although it was not part of the original plan for this initiative; rather it emerged organically and then took hold. In Year Two, methods were applied to the full slate of film and media programs at the Museum. The initiative has been an enormous success, enabling the Museum to present a wide array of programs for previously untapped audiences, created in collaboration with new cultural and neighborhood partners.
Overall, the Museum presented a total of 100 screenings and events; established relationships with 12 cultural and neighborhood partners; received advice and support from 14 local stakeholders; and served 6,257 people, many of whom were engaged with the Museum for the first time. Those programs and partnerships attracted new audiences and additional grants, and helped to build an audience that continues to return to the Museum. Peoplmovr returns to the Museum in spring 2018 as part of a DCLA-funded initiative to expand upon the work in area NYCHA housing.