Austin Opera selected for new Bloomberg Philanthropies digital accelerator program


Austin Opera is one of only 46 cultural organizations selected to participate the $30 million Bloomberg Philanthropies International Digital Accelerator Program.

It joins 26 U.S.-based organizations and 22 U.K.-based arts groups named to the program. Austin Opera is the only opera company selected and is one of two from Texas. Southern Methodist University’s DataArts research center was also selected.

The program is intended to help organizations improve technology and continue to develop digital programming. The organizations don’t know exactly how much of the $30 million each will receive yet, but each will have

“When the pandemic hit, cultural organizations everywhere got creative and adapted quickly to keep their virtual doors open,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Now we’re excited to launch the Accelerator program to help more arts organizations sustain innovations and investments – and strengthen tech and management practices that are key to their long-term success.”

Annie Burridge, Austin Opera’s executive director, said that the company was in process of developing a specific project, but it will be something that builds on the digital initiatives launched during the pandemic.

Last year, Austin Opera joined forces with Houston Grand Opera to co-produce and present a slate of new made-for-film opera performances. In Austin they were streamed digitally and screened in at Blue Starlite Drive-in. And its weekly “Live from Indy Terrace” streaming program — started initially a quick digital pivot — developed into a robust program.

“We are excited about the future of ‘Live from Indy Terrace,’ which we plan to relaunch this season as our official digital platform for intimate artist experiences, insider access to productions, and explorations into opera through the lenses of diversity, inclusion, and innovation,” Burridge said. “We are also looking forward to taking Opera ATX into the entirely new realm of Virtual Reality this year. To have the technological and financial support of an international foundation will undoubtedly be a game-changer as we continue to push the boundaries on how we reach audiences.”

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