Michael Sticka, President of the GRAMMY Museum of Los Angeles. Photography © Getty Images/GRAMMY Museum
1.What is your museum about and what are its challenges?
Our museum is one that celebrates music in all forms and genres. We are a museum that fosters inspiration in all people through the power a music. Our challenges, like many museums, are typically centered around funding. We must rely on the generosity of donors, members, corporate partners, and others to be able to deliver our programming effectively and consistently.
2.What kind of remarkable digital innovation would you like to share with us? It can be online and/or in your physical space.
In 2019, we raised more than $5.5 million to renovate our museum in Los Angeles, much of that money earmarked for interactive and digital experiences. A prime example of this is our “Mono to immersive” interactive exhibit, which takes the visitor on a visual and audible journey of recorded sound from the monophonic dusty wax cylinders of the 19th century to the multi-dimensional immersive audio of the present as you engross yourself in your favorite GRAMMY performances.
3.What are the social media platforms that your museum chose for its digital presence and who are your primary target audiences?
We use all major social media platforms to communicate our mission to the public, but also to deliver content. For instance, we actively engage with our community and the public via Facebook and Twitter, so that people know what it is we are doing.
We use Instagram to visually represent our mission, by sharing photos or videos of artist programs, exhibits, or even educational lessons. Finally, we have come to heavily rely on YouTube to deliver our public programs with musical artists to the general public.
4.Tell us how are you facing the coronavirus emergency with the museum? What strategies are you using.
With our recent temporary closure, due to the coronavirus, we had to immediately pivot and create an online, digital museum so that we can continue engaging with our members and the public. Within 48 hours, we were able to surface never-before-released content from our popular public programs archives, provide educational lessons and activities for families, teachers, and students, and create online virtual exhibits.
I’m pleased that our team was able to digitally innovate and formulate a strategy for how we continue delivering engagement through music using all three pillars of our mission. This is just the beginning, we’re already in production to continue our public programs with our “Public Programs @ Home” series that will feature artist interviews, our Education team is actively working with educators and artists to create timely and relevant educational material to continue engaging students, and our Curatorial Department has plans for exhibits for the next several months.
If there is a silver lining in this crisis, it is that it has brought our team together to accelerate an already planned digital museum. So, by the time that we re-open the doors to our brick-and-mortar museum, we’ll have built a fully functioning and engaging digital museum, as well.
5.Do you have a professional alter-ego somewhere in the world to whom you would like to ask a professional question?
I’m in awe of Pope Francis and his willingness to challenge entrenched thinking and conviction. His focus and leadership on the environment, the poor, and greater inclusivity is inspiring.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Michael Sticka (Dayton, 1981) is the President of the GRAMMY Museum since June 2019. He is the responsible for creating and executing the museum’s strategy and also, he is supervisor of all curatorial, educational and business functions.
Sticka is holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Dayton and started his job carreer in management consulting for non-profit organizations and collaborative strategic planning. Before to be nominated the President at the museum, he started to work there as Executive Director until 2018.
Sticka’s contract with the GRAMMY Museum Foundation extends through 2022. He lives in Los Angeles.