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TMA Labs is launched as the museum's hub for digital innovation

Ian Charles Stewart Leads TMA Labs as Director

June 13, 2024

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) announces the launch of TMA Labs, led by newly appointed Ian Charles Stewart as its director. TMA Labs identifies visionary technologies and utilizes them to support TMA’s strategic plan and goal to become the model museum in the United States.

TMA Labs was born out of the museum’s commitment to utilizing technology to engage communities locally and globally, expanding the reach of TMA’s longstanding mission of integrating art into the lives of all people. TMA Labs operates as an in-house consulting resource to support the creation of innovative technological, digital, and data-based opportunities for the museum and the museum industry. Working on projects across the institution, TMA Labs’ goal is to encourage museum staff to think purposefully about technological innovation across five key areas: data, artificial intelligence, Web3, augmented and virtual reality, and operating efficiencies.

In his role as director, Stewart is supported by Calvin Burchfiel, technology lead, TMA Labs, to develop TMA Labs programming. Together, they work closely with Adam M. Levine, Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey President, Director, and CEO of TMA, and Sophie Ong, Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives at TMA.

“TMA Labs is dedicated to extending our interest in becoming the model museum into technology,” said Levine. “The Toledo Museum of Art has the capacity to be nimble and innovative and the scale to drive changes across the museum sector. The team we’ve assembled can deliver on that promise.”

Stewart comes to TMA from a celebrated career at the intersection of technology, finance, art, and culture. Having studied math and computer science, Stewart spent 10 years as a photographer for books and magazines before completing an MBA and running a venture fund at Lazard in the United Kingdom. He left the bank to cofound the internationally acclaimed, technology-focused publication WiReD Magazine in San Francisco with Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe.

After the magazine’s sale to Condé Nast, Stewart founded AZTEC Internet, which built, BBC News Online,, and others. He then returned to finance as the managing director of a venture firm within the Rothschild group. Currently working as an independent advisor to institutions in the arts and culture sector, Stewart focuses on business model adaptation in the face of technological developments and disruptions. Stewart is based in Switzerland and will support TMA principally from Europe.

“The multitude of new technologies washing over us today offers immense opportunities for arts and culture organizations who are willing to embrace and experiment,” Stewart said. “And it isn’t just about what artists do. It also impacts how institutions operate and relate to their audiences at home and around the globe. From my first trip to TMA, and after slow walks around the collection and time spent with the curatorial and management teams, I realized this is a museum that deserved a global audience.”

In addition to its consulting function, TMA Labs leads the museum’s digital art and NFT initiatives and partners with TMA curators to run the Digital Artist in Residence Program. The residency program invites both international and community artists to merge artistic practices with digital technologies, supporting their growth within the digital and generative art space.

As the technology lead at TMA Labs, Burchfiel has been instrumental in integrating Web3 artists, communities, and technologies into the museum through the digital residency. Before joining TMA Labs, he curated digital art galleries, produced a hackathon for the art sector, worked for an NFT marketplace catering to independent artists, and collaborated with developers to create software tools for artists and the art world.


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