NFT platform Voice is back with the most recent version of its NFT residency program. This time, in partnership with the NFT Collection Women Rise, this system will empower women creators from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Together, Voice and Women Rise hope to bridge the gender gap in NFTs and spawn a much-needed trade.
To ensure that girls worldwide are seriously underrepresented within the artwork. In reality, in accordance with a document through The National Museum of Women in the Arts, the artists represented in the top 18 museums in the United States are 87% male and 85% white. Particularly in the field of NFT there are no other problems. A November 2021 paper found that while girls represent 16% of the NFT art market, they make up the most convenient 5% of NFT gross revenue.
Voice started the NFT residency program to empower emerging artists
Originally, Voice started as a tokenized, social media platform, said Eliza Fish, the company’s Director of Partnerships and Creator Relations. However, in the last year, the company started looking at moving to NFTs. It was then that it realized there were some issues it would “add to the NFT space”.
The first was durability. Amid the increasing environmental concerns of NFTs, Voice has built a carbon neutral NFT platform. In the meantime, the 2d served to bolster up-and-coming creators in the area.
“The Residency program emerged last year from our linchpin to build an NFT platform for emerging creators,” Fish instructed. NFTevening†
“The program is designed to bring the art world and Web3 visionaries together with emerging artists around the world. Some of them had done NFT collections before, while some had barely heard of NFT. So we tailored the program so that it was a personalized experience for each person based on their needs.”*
Ultimately, Voice hoped to have interacting creators—both NFT veterans and emerging artists—from all over the world and make the onboarding process easy. In addition, this system proved to be an opportunity for Voice to be informed “what artists needed, what they were looking for, and what they were interested in.”
The platform introduced the primary NFT residence in September 2021. The program was curated by six acclaimed creators: Kimberly Drew, Azu Nwagbogu, Myriam Ben Salah, Alexander Gilkes, Chad Knight and Misan Harriman. Each curator collaborated with 3 artists. In the end, each artist created joint NFT items around the theme ‘Raise Our Voice’.
“We had six curators and we were looking for curators from many different backgrounds, disciplines and expertise,” Fish defined. “We were looking for as many perspectives as possible.”
A successful first season gave others an upward push
The first season, according to Fish, used to be “incredibly” a hit. And the main takeaway for Voice has been to administer additional such techniques targeting particular communities.
In March Voice introduced the 2nd season of the NFT Residency to empower makers from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Even then, this system had a great lineup of curators – Ayanfe Olarinde, Shan Vincent de Paul and Autumn Breon.
In the approaching season of the NFT residency, Voice wanted to “deliberately create space for women to drop NFT collections and share their stories.”
To bring this resourceful and farsighted to fruition, Voice decided to marry Women Rise and its founder, Maliha Abidi. Abidi, a Pakistani-American visible artist and writer, has been advocating for social justice, along with girls’ rights, gender equality, and education for women for about a decade. Abidi had already curated Voice’s exhibition during the NFT NYC primary tournament.
By the way, Abidi’s 10K NFT collection, Women Rise, features girls from all over the world. The range celebrates “activists, artists, scientists, programmers and many others who are rising up to make the world a better place!” The project itself supports international reasons for gender equality. In reality, it has donated 2.5% of the number one gross sales to the Malala Fund. Separately, it donated 7.5% of its finances to global social justice organizations.
“The voice residency program and the kind of platform that Voice is, I think it’s so incredible and perfect,” Abidi instructed NFTevening† “This residency is also so true to Voice’s core values. It will give women of color and makers of color more and more opportunities. I am truly honored and very grateful to be a part of it, and for Women Rise to be a part of it.”
“Actions speak louder than words when empowering women”
“Sometimes the word women empowerment loses what it’s trying to say because it’s become such a buzzword,” Abidi defined† “We [Women Rise] try to use phrases or actions that advocate for women’s empowerment, but without using the words “women’s empowerment”. Because your movements speak louder than phrases.”
“And that’s exactly what the Voice residency program is,” she added. “It is not only aimed at empowering female artists, but also at providing scholarships that will enable them to advance their careers, and provide them with a platform through which they and their work can be seen.”
In just about every field on the planet, Abidi said, there is a “gap when it comes to women of color having access to opportunities. And again, it has nothing to do with their intelligence or talent, because there is no lack of it. It just has to do with the gap and the systemic barriers.”
Things are no different when it comes to artwork and NFT. Therefore, projects such as the NFT residence are vital to give girls, especially girls from underrepresented and marginalized communities, the alternatives they deserve. Nevertheless, the company wants to do extra to ensure that variety and inclusivity in the area.
What the company can do to ensure that variety
“It’s important for everyone in the space to be informed, educate themselves, and keep having conversations,” Fish said. “Intentionally creating spaces for women and non-binary people is a very important first step towards greater diversity and inclusion.”
That said, Voice also found that not everyone wanted to sign up for a residency especially for women right now. As a result, the platform has recently had separate techniques for artists from marginalized communities and for women.
“People can choose what kind of space they want to be a part of,” added Fish. “I think offering options is a really important step towards diversity and inclusion.”
While Abidi agreed with Fish, she believes it is also essential to provide alternatives for ladies who are already in the area. “If only 16% of women get the chance and only 5% of them make money selling their art, then the problem will not be solved. So while we’re talking about increasing diversity and female representation, we also need to discuss how we can increase the opportunities for women who already exist in the space.”
“I think that’s where the concept of equality and equality is very important for us to think about,” she added. “Programs like Voice residency, which don’t really ask anything of the creators, and are all about giving back and making sure they empower the creators, are so important.”
More often than not now, creators new to the divide don’t know where to start, Abidi defined. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the “barriers” they pass through and then equip them with the resources they want. They also need to be given a “safe space”, the place where they can simply be artists. At the top of the day, “it’s all about accessibility.”
What to expect from the Voice x Women Rise residency program
The programs for the one-month Voice x Women Rise residency program are now live and may close on May 7. The citizens are given a month to craft their items, which Voice will drop all the way through the summer season. This time, the artists can create NFTs on the topics of fairness and justice, id, future-proofing and well-being.
“For this residency, we focused on a number of themes that we chose so broadly that each artist didn’t feel limited to a specific theme, medium, or any kind of content they felt compelled to create,” Fish said. “It is open to their interpretation and their perspective. Moreover, they are the most relevant issues of our time.”
For this system, Voice looks for virtual creators who are both lively on social media and able to interact in a similar way. Once decided, the citizens will receive a “small creation stipend”. They even go to paintings with the Voice and Abidi staff. In addition, the staff will help the makers with an advertising and marketing plan. In addition, all gross sales during the first 30 days of the drop will receive a gross sales bonus.
“It’s really kind of an all-hands-on-deck residency on our part, but it’s also self-directed,” she added. “This can really be molded to whatever any artist is looking for.”
An alternative for artists to “push themselves”
At the top of this system, Fish hopes the creators will “push themselves” to transcend their final project and “take some risks.” Following on from this, Abidi added that the residency is a smart alternative for the artists to showcase their creativity.
“In the NFT space, art is art. There is no limitation of mediums – it is not just limited to paint and crayons, or photography, or music. It’s everything,” she added.
“As a maker you have to recognize that potential and that power. It’s almost like a super power you have. As a creator you literally have the power to create and you can use any medium. And you can develop your skills. And I think artist residencies are a perfect place to do that.”
On this website you can practice for the Voice x Women Rise NFT residency program.
†Quotes have been compressed and edited for readability