How Blockchain can help fund artists – and revive the arts
In an op-ed recently published in Philanthropy Daily, “How blockchain can help fund artists — and revitalize the arts,” Philanthropy Roundtable Program Director Esther Larson, and COO and Co-Founder of Living Opera, Christos A. Makridis, wrote that philanthropists have a unique opportunity to fund individual artists directly through pragmatic tools such as blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens. Larson and Makridis explain how these methods benefit both the philanthropist and the artist, while making the case for microphilanthropy to diversify charitable giving in the arts.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
“Giving to arts, culture and humanities organizations in the United States increased by about 27% from 2020 to 2021, rising to $23.5 billion, according to the Giving USA Foundation. And yet, large arts institutions attract the majority of arts-related funding rather than individual artists. Because of the reputational benefits and seemingly reduced risk of giving to large institutions, this concentration of funding often discourages direct support from individual artists.”
“Decentralized philanthropy – small donations aimed at big impact – has the capacity to advance the arts in significant ways. For opera singer Soula Parasidis, this approach changed her life. After recovering from cancer and overcoming the odds to graduate from University of British Columbia, she was approached by a local philanthropist who believed she had promise as an opera singer. Parasidis presented him with a business proposal, and he made a life-changing gift of a few thousand dollars. This generosity was enough to enable Parasidis to move to Germany to train, and after much hard work launch an international career and even a worldwide art community called Living Opera which aims to empower other artists.”
“Unfortunately, these stories of direct connection between donor and artist are the exception, not the rule. Despite all the funding that arts institutions receive in philanthropy, very little of it is passed on to artists. In fact, our research and surveys from Living Opera show that the real wages of artists has declined over time and that most artists bear a greater financial burden than ever before.For example, 53% report having a job outside of the arts to fund their primary calling, and 54% were clinically diagnosed with depression—no doubt driven of the financial uncertainty and the challenge of settling down when going from concert to concert.”
“Enter blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have the capacity to facilitate philanthropy in the arts. Although NFTs and the broader cryptocurrency market faced some challenges and controversies in 2022 – unrelated to the technology – when the used properly, this technology can serve as a democratizing force in philanthropy by providing a transparent, more open forum for artists and philanthropists.This technology has the potential to take Parasidi’s rare experience and make it a more common occurrence for artists. »
Please continue reading “How blockchain can help fund artists — and revive the arts,” on Philanthropy Daily.