Grand Rapids Art Prize Cancels NFTs And That’s A Shame

Now that I’m back in Michigan, I want to talk about the Michigan tech scene! Unfortunately, to start, we have a story about the cancellation of NFTs at ArtPrize.

ArtPrize started in 2009 when I was going to school at Grand Valley State University.

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition that celebrates artists working in all mediums from anywhere in the world. It’s also an urban adventure like no other, full of wonder, excitement and the opportunity for visitors to award a share of $450,000 in prize money to their favorite artists.

My friend, Ashley, informed me of this story. ArtPrize was going to release NFTs to go along with the event this year. They received so much backlash that they canceled the project. I think that’s a shame.

ArtPrize 2022 OpenSea

I went to Reddit and ArtPrize’s Facebook page to see what all the complaints were about.

On Reddit, commenters wrote that NFTs were a scheme. They went against the sanctity of ArtPrize.

Reddit comments on ArtPrize NFTs

The post on ArtPrize’s Facebook page had over 100 comments from people expressing mostly – what is an NFT?

These are some of my favorite ideas for those who do understand NFTs had to say.

NFT Use Cases at Grand Rapids ArtPrize

“Digital is just as forever as physical, both mediums are viable to failure,” wrote Noah Sheppard in response to someone saying they’d rather have a physical piece of art on their wall. Sheppard pointed out, correctly, that there are many artists who have embraced NFTs and are using them today.

Shannon McCormick wrote, “NFT can include a smart contract where the artist then gets a certain percent of every sale guaranteeing future income. Many other possibilities too. NFTs are great for artists.”

I enjoyed Tyler Quinn’s idea about using NFTs as a way to collect a POAP (proof of attendance protocol) that “can do things like connect the holders of those POAPs to special webpages or community art boards.”

Quinn went on to write, “Sure you can argue what are good and bad use cases for the technology, but [NFTs are] just a neutral technology, and banning that limits the potential of what some artists might want to do.”

Will we see NFTs at next year’s ArtPrize? Only time will tell.

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