Ben Garcia Included on Blooloop 50 Museum Influencer List 2022

The list highlights 50 key individuals whose innovation and creativity have been integral to developing today’s museums.

"Blooloop 50 Museum Influencer List 2022 revealed"

By Rachel Read

Blooloop is pleased to announce that the Blooloop 50 Museum Influencer List for2022 has been revealed. The List was launched in association with global image technology innovator Barco.

Charles Read, MD of blooloop, says: “ With the pandemic proving an accelerator, museums have been evolving. Now, more than ever, there is a focus on story telling and a reimagining of old buildings, allowing the creation of hybrid spaces and the delivery of new experiences and functions.

“All this change comes alongside an increasingly complex relationship with the visitor, and deeper engagement and a stronger bond with the online community.”

Lieven Bertels, Segment Marketing Manager, IX–Themed Entertainment at Barco, says: “The disruptive learning opportunity provided by the Covid pandemic might have been uninvited and unexpected, but many cultural and entertainment organizations have yet again shown that creativity and resilience are part of their DNA

“Barco is proud to support the Blooloop50 Influencer List, ready to help shape brighter outcomes for creatives and their audiences.”

The top one hundred nominees by vote count were given as a long list to our expert panel of judges, each of whom has decades working with museums and cultural attractions across the world.

As one might expect, the list includes high profile professionals from world-renowned institutions such as The Met, the V&A and the Getty alongside key museum designers and planners from leading firms such Ralph Applebaum, SNK and Lord Cultural Resources.

However, the final list also reveals a broad and diverse range of backgrounds, with job titles including directors, CEOs, a community historian, social media managers and even a head of Mollusks. One of the nominees made his fortune from gambling, another is one of the world’s most famous pop stars. What the individuals in the list have in common is that their peers (and our judges) think they are creating change and have significant influence in the sector.

Whilst the zoo and aquarium community is undoubtedly leading the way, the importance of sustainability and tackling climate change in the museum sector is highlighted by Sarah Sutton, Alison Criddle and Tim Pethick making the list. Sarah is leading the conversation in the US, Alison has created a carbon literacy toolkit and Tim’s company has created the world’s first climate neutral touring exhibition.

The ongoing impact of social media is evident, as is the increasing importance of technology in museums, including the rise of AI technology. It is also encouraging to see the number of women and people of colour in senior positions.

The list showcases the broad range of incredible work by museum professionals worldwide. We congratulate our Blooloop 50 Museum 2022 Influencers and thank our readers for their nominations. We would also like to thank our wonderful judges and of course Barco for its support.

Ben Garcia Profile on Influencer List

Ben Garcia, executive director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum, has spent 20 years working to turn museums into welcoming spaces for everyone. He started his career as a gallery guide and educator before moving to exhibition development. Prior to joining the American LGBTQ+ Museum, he served in middle and upper management administrative roles.

Garcia has presented and published regularly on creating structural equity in museums. He has worked in various roles as an educator and administrator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Skirball Cultural Center, and Hearst Museum of Anthropology. He later served as deputy director of the Museum of Us, and as the deputy executive director and chief learning officer at the Ohio History Connection.

He led initiatives to return indigenous ancestral human remains and belongings in San Diego and Ohio. He is a board member at Equality Ohio and vice president of the Association of Midwest Museums. His work has focused on inclusivity, equity, representation and decolonisation in museum administration, exhibitions and development initiatives.

Garcia will develop the American LGBTQ+ Museum’s first comprehensive capital campaign to fund exhibitions, educational programmes and operations. The museum will be housed within the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library. “The story of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggle for civil rights is as moving as it is difficult. And it is a story that still goes on, marriage equality aside. There are, unfathomably to most people, still, anti-sodomy laws on the books in some US states,” Dr Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, told blooloop.

“To lead the American LGBTQ+ Museum into this next phase is a dream realized,” said Garcia. “Together, we will tell the stories of queer peoples in this country from its indigenous beginnings to the present; thousands of stories that haven’t been told before in museums. Stories brought to life through the work of LGBTQ+ creatives and scholars. This museum will be a space of celebration, connection, activism, and deep meaning. A liminal space where the connection to our ancestors will be strong and queer magic, real.”