Traditional art spaces are notorious for being homogenous, with US museum collections consisting of 85% white and 87% male artists. Through NFTs, a more diverse range of artists are able to gain exposure without having to go through traditional gatekeepers – but will the space open up opportunities for femme, queer creatives and/or artists of colour?
Many platforms are working to generate more diversity within the crypto space. TheBlkChain, for example, is a platform whose mission is to amplify the work of women, BIPOC and LGBTQ artists and collectors in the NFT space. Its founder Sian Morson states that “NFTs are providing an opportunity for diverse artists to make a living from their art. They are reaching collectors and are showing and sharing their work in ways that didn’t exist previously. These artists–particularly artists of colour–are being empowered in ways like never before.”
Another great platform is ARTXV – an NFT collective centred on neurodiversity. “Our main mission is to show everyone the beauty of neurodiversity in the art world and to accelerate the economic independence of these artists,” founder Ava Halvai shared. “All the artists have incredible stories and a range of neurodiversity such as autism, ADHD and synesthesia which directly and positively impact their work, creating art from a whole new unique perspective of the world.”
There are now even NFT collections such as Boss Beauties that portray a diverse range of strong women. “NFTs have provided a sense of belonging and a close knit community to many people that have entered this fast growing space,” says its founder Lisa Mayer. “For instance we recently hosted a five day summit and then a series of International Day of the Girl conversations for the Boss Beauties community, filled with inspirational speakers and leaders. During these virtual events, our community gathered on Discord to discuss key learnings and takeaways from the speakers.”
Aside from representation and equal opportunities, diversifying the crypto space also means creating more equitable access to wealth. People who haven’t had the opportunities to invest or sell their art in traditional spaces now have access.
“The blockchain provides a unique opportunity for investors of all cultures and backgrounds to close the wealth gap through ownership and collection of NFTs and cryptocurrencies,” said Sterling Smith, the founder of BlackFreelancer, a global community for Black creatives to showcase their work, get hired and passively invest in crypto currencies. “I see more people who look like me investing and creating in this space, and I think this will yield a more diverse class of individuals that are in the driver’s seat of innovation and wealth equity in the future.”