Schools out for Summer

As the third cohort of our Residency program draws to a close, we take a look at how far this initiative to support emerging crypto talent, has come

Three cohorts, 65 artists, 35 expert mentors and more than 100 classes: our residency programme may still be in its youth but it’s already packing a punch. 

Launched in July 2021, each of our online residencies lasts 12 weeks and provides an 8-week course, with selected artists attending classes run by expert mentors. A 4-week creative phase then enables participants to explore and hone the skills they’ve developed.

https://residency.verticalcrypto.art/ website

“I was getting contacted a lot by different artists in the space asking for resources and information on how to ‘get started’ in the art NFT and crypto art space,” says Micol Ap, founder, and CEO of VerticalCrypto Art. “I thought this could be an opportunity to start think about a scaled educational program for artists / creators – it really started as an experiment and has been ongoing ever since due to the great success of it.”

The program was designed to provide free educational programs dedicated to creators and artists around the world, in the fields of NFTs, Crypto art, Web3 and the metaverse.  With a meaningful commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality (around 30 countries are represented and a 50/50 split on gender, including BIPOC), the initiative’s focus is on the empowerment of creators at differing stages of their careers.

“The program helped me believe that I am not too old or too inexperienced to learn and apply new technologies,” says Ana Maria Caballero, an artist on the third cohort.  She adds that; “I feel like now I have a small crew of talented and intelligent friends within the sometimes overwhelming sea of crypto art. It’s so important to have these nests of friends upon which to rely.” 

History of CryptoArt class with Artnome

Subject matter covered in the classes is admirably broad: introductory and contextual topics include History of Crypto Art [with Jason Bailey/ Artnome] and an overview of the art market [with Fanny Lakoubay], whilst more practical and technical classes include creative coding [with Raphaël de C] and VR/AR [with Sam Arsenault-Brassard].

“Some of the best classes I had were focused [on] security,” says Ikaro Cavalcanteit, an artist who took part in the second cohort. “It was always a topic I studied but listening from people that really have experience on this was amazing.” 

Arguably as significant as the classes is the introduction of artists to the VCA community, which is primarily played out in dedicated discord channels and curated marketplaces. Direct support offered in a mint fund budget and hardware wallets (donated by the Tezos Foundation) are also proving to be game changers for the artists starting out in this creative ecosystem. 

And the results are impressive: 15 artists achieved their all-time-high sale during the end of residency auction, £250,000 was raised in two auctions held on the VCA auction platform and all the work collected, acquired by new collectors. 

Arium Space entrance for the Residency Auctions fundraising and first cohort

Micol adds that: “it’s [also] about artists finding their niche of people. One of the greatest achievements for me is seeing artists find passion about building in the metaverse (in Arium) and then going on and pursuing this passion.”

With an impressive list of partners including the Tezos Foundation (we are current grantees), ClubNFT and Arium, what’s next for the program? Applications for the next cohort are due by 1 May and longer-term ambitions are focused on creating a more sustainable model, through the establishment of a decentralised autonomous organisation [DAO] and scaling up of Tezos auction and marketplace platforms.

No mean feat, but with the talent coming through our residencies, it would appear to be ambition well placed.

The Residency Program is a not-for-profit foundation, reliant upon donations to ensure free access to emerging talent. If you would like to support the programme (through crypto currency or Fiat) please find out more here

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