Diversity Award: Judy Tyrus

Judy Tyrus, cofounder and CEO of ChromaDiverse, Inc., is a 2021 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

Formerly a principal ballet dancer at Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) for twenty-two years, Tyrus is passionate about protecting the heritage of diverse dance organizations. She is the archivist and curator for DTH’s materials in Taking the Stage at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She served in the same capacity for several successful exhibitions including Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts, and a series of digital exhibits on the Google Arts and Culture platform.

In 2019, Tyrus cofounded the nonprofit ChromaDiverse, Inc. that works with diverse dance organizations, many of which lack financial resources or archival knowledge. Her company provides digital archives management services at low cost and offers a flexible Cloud-based “Digital Vault” with a scalable taxonomy for performing arts content. In addition, Tyrus is coauthor with Paul Novosel of a new book, Dance Theater of Harlem: A History, A Movement, A Celebration, forthcoming in November 2021 from Dafina, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. The book highlights the famous ballet company’s fifty-two-year history and its promotion of multicultural dance artists.  

As noted by one supporter, Tyrus has a passion for “protecting the accomplishments of diverse dance organizations and keeping them from being erased from history. Every step of the way, Tyrus translates her passions into concrete and pragmatic steps to accomplish her goals.”

The Diversity Award was established by SAA in 2011.