(Grant Proposal) art2act - A Platform to Empower Artists

(Grant Proposal) art2act - A Platform to Empower Artists

We present this proposal to Rarible Protocol Dao after having several calls with @Dev where we had the chance to explain our project in depth. We take this chance to thank him for his feedback and support.

Summary

art2act is a democratic platform, made by artists and art lovers, focused on developing and creating real cultural opportunities, powered by blockchain technology. We’ve developed a modular ecosystem that connects artists and their stakeholders across their different areas of need, potentiating an efficient exchange of value for all the community.

art2act envisions the decentralization of the cultural sector, making it independent and tailored by its community. In art2act, we want to make sure today’s artists have access to all the tools they need in order to become financially independent through their art. Being deeply convinced that blockchain will empower them to unprecedented levels, we are here to be the bridge artists need to walk through this digital revolution, without ever conditioning their work, their revenues, and their creative freedom. The same applies to other essential stakeholders in the sector, like fine art universities and various educational institutions, fine arts circles, public and private cultural foundations, as well as art consumers and investors, whether they’re big or small.

We present this grant proposal to use the Rarible Protocol as our foundation NFT infrastructure. This will help us in delivering on our mission of helping artists reach financial sustainability. At the same time with this proposal we will introduce thousands of emerging artists to blockchain technology through the Rarible Protocol, increasing its adoption. We also want to implement Rarible Protocol associated projects (e.g Hypervibes)

The problems the art sector faces are systemic (see Context - Problem/Opportunity) and they need to be addressed with a systemic solution. That is why we created a modular ecosystem that tackles the different areas of need (see an overview of our Value Proposition in the link at the end of Context - Problem/Opportunity). Although blockchain technology has the potential to transform the cultural sector, we believe that it is fundamental for projects to join forces to consolidate this new paradigm. This will increase the chances of making the art sector more transparent, fair and with a higher capitalization. This grant proposal would lay the groundwork of our NFT framework, giving us the possibility to reinforce other much-needed solutions we have envisioned for the art sector.

Context - Problem/Opportunity

Cultural industries are accountable for producing, directly, 4,4% of the EU’s total GDP and for being the third-largest employer in the continent (7.6 million jobs). In terms of comparison, this sector has a higher economical contribution than the telecommunications, high technology, pharmaceutical, or automotive industries. This is without taking into account the indirect revenues and jobs it generates, such as cultural tourism, which represents 40% of all tourism in the EU. In the US, the situation is similar: cultural industries make up for 4.3% of the GDP and generate 5.2 million jobs.

Although these industries have a massive impact on our economies, their main actors, the creators, are the most precarious stakeholders in the sector. If we concentrate on contemporary art, fine arts graduates have a really difficult time integrating the labor market. Statistics show that, in the USA, only 10% of all art graduates make their primary earnings as working artists. In France, only 5% to 10% of all artists can live off exclusively from their art earnings. In fact, 57% of them are obliged to find a complementary job in the cultural field, while the rest work for non-artistic industries. In Spain, 50% of fine arts graduates are still unemployed four years after their graduation.

Besides, when it comes to wages, they are consistently lower than the average. In the UK, for example, 66% of all artists make less than £10,000 (around $13,200 USD) from their art, while the median annual income reaches £29,900 (almost $40K USD). In the US, like with most higher education courses, art students tend to end up with a heavy debt load once they’re graduated. In fact, 7 of the 10 most expensive higher education institutions in the USA are art schools, making the corresponding student loans higher than those for non-art schools. Meanwhile, most working artists in the USA have a median annual income of $30,621 USD, while the national average sits at $41,573 USD. With higher debts and lower earnings, most art graduates are forced into other industries and jobs in order to pay their bills, which explains partially why only 10% end up as working artists.

If this wasn’t enough, the chances of an art graduate to become a working artist are far worse if they are female. Although women earn 70% of bachelor of fine arts and 65 to 75% of master of fine arts degrees in the USA, only 46% of working artists are women. Today, less than 14% of living artists represented by galleries in Europe and North America are women, and female artists are still making 74¢ for every dollar made by male artists.

After extensive research, we also came to understand that artists were lacking some essential tools to achieve their financial sustainability. In all the fine arts syllabus and academic curriculums that we analyzed, both in North America and Europe, almost none included business courses that would help young artists’ professional integrations. This is a population that is very likely to become self-employed (3.6 times higher than average), therefore these skills are essential. In the USA, if only 9% of all workers are self-employed, this reality represents more than 35% of all working artists.

We realized then, that artists are facing many obstacles to achieving their financial independence, and that the market offers very few solutions. To confirm our assumption, we conducted a study with more than 150 artists in order to analyze and understand, in-depth, what they are lacking to become full-time creators. After identifying artists’ needs, we created a modular ecosystem designed to tackle them. Our approach is hybrid, meaning that we focus both on traditional and digital artists, and our economical model includes both token economics and micro-transactions.

We are deeply convinced that a decentralized cultural sector, one that includes more its stakeholders, whether they are art buyers, supporters or creators, will bring in a lot of capitalization. This happened, for example, with NFTs, where decentralization and a community-based approach were key factors for the development and rise of art creation, as well as for the quick and massive capitalization of the market.

For understanding the complete modules under development and the road-map for 2022, take a closer look at:

Objectives

The objectives we have with this grant are to:

*Launch our NFTs module:

  • Based on Rarible Protocol, give our users the possibility to mint NFTs (ERC-721, ERC-1155).
  • Implement lazy minting functionality.
  • Support token infusion using Hypervibes.
  • Creation of an NFT Marketplace.
    • Based on the Rarible Protocol, give users the possibility to buy and sell art.
  • Expand NFTs modules to all chains supported by the Rarible protocol.
  • Create didactical material for “traditional” artists.
    • We believe that is of imperative importance, for the sector’s mass adoption, the creation of comprehensive and simplified didactical material to integrate the majority of the sector in the blockchain sphere.

We believe these objectives would create a win-win model for art2act and Rarible Protocol DAO. Using the structural pillar of Rarible Protocol for the above-mentioned modules, we would be able to focus part of our efforts on other much-needed parts of this systemic problem, while onboarding thousands of artists through the rarible protocol, increasing its networking effects.

Funding proposal

The funding requested includes the following milestones:

  • Milestone 1 - Development of the user journey and platform’s technical framework related to NFTs and Marketplace
    • User roles and personas for NFT minting and buying/selling art
    • Functionalities map
    • User stories - step by step guide for marketplace usage
    • Technical framework Marketplace back-end
    • Technical framework UI/UX development (web version)

Requested funding for milestone 1 - 15.000 USD

  • Milestone 2 - Implementation of ETH (testnet) NFT minting
    • Development of minting functionality for ERC-721, ERC-1155
    • Implementation of lazy-minting functionality ETH
    • Front-end development, implementing UX/UI based on stakeholders needs

Requested funding for milestone 2 - 10.000 USD

  • Milestone 3 - Creation of the marketplace based on the Rarible protocol (ETH testnet)
    • Implementation of the Rarible protocol as the marketplace logic
    • Implementation of a technical framework for back-end
    • Development of front-end UX/UI
    • Focus group + QA of material
    • Final Deliverable

Requested funding for milestone 3 - 20.000 USD

  • Milestone 4 - Expand all previous features to the supported chains
    • First phase - Polygon/Ethereum - 10.000 USD
    • Second phase - Tezos/Flow - 10.000 USD
    • Third phase - Solana - 10.000

Requested funding for milestone 4 - 30.000 USD

  • Milestone 5 - Support token infusion using Hypervibes
    • Support token infusing using Rarible protocol’s Hypervibes.
    • UI/UX simplification for artists
    • Create token infusion realms as templates for quick usage

Requested funding for milestone 5 - 7.000 USD

  • Milestone 6 - Didactical Material for bridging Traditional artists in the space
    • Creating needs analysis from the different stakeholders
    • Analysis of the state of the art - understanding what’s been done
    • Create course outline + define custom learning experience
    • Training material development
    • Focus group + QA of material
    • Final Deliverable

Requested funding for milestone 6 - 8.000 USD

Total requested funding: $90,000 USD equivalent in RARI

GANTT Chart for Milestones Development:

Payments will be made to the following Ethereum address: 0x16684DE61A0E523749CCA51300FE2fb721D90Fa5

We consider ourselves independent contractors of the Rarible DAO and will report taxes accordingly. Forms W8-BEN and W9 will be filled out accordingly before funds get distributed to our team. [this is a requirement]

Contact Person: Tomás Serrano - tomas @art2act.org - Discord: Tomás Serrano#3829

Team members and Contact Persons

Tomás Serrano - CEO and Financial - tomas @art2act.org
Linkedin - in/tomas-serrano-ramires/

MBA, experienced in Project Management, Strategy and Implementation, with a background in Business Development in the start-up environment.

Gastão de Oliveira - COO and Marketing - gastao @art2act.org
Linkedin - in/gast%C3%A3o-pinto-de-oliveira/

MSc in Psychology in Business and Economics, an expert in digital marketing, experienced in artistic career and project management.

Felipe Sangareau - BDO and Partnerships - felipe @art2act.org
Linkedin - in/felipe-sangareau/

MSc in Cultural Management and International Relations. Expert in business development and PR in the cultural sector. Experienced consultant for cultural enterprises.

Key Developers - Linkedin - company/zrptech/
Pedro Gryzinsky - ZRP
Zé Luis de Almeida - ZRP

Accountability

To ensure team accountability we intend to participate in the weekly community calls and give weekly status updates of the project development.

We are also completely open to any suggestion to improve QA of each deliverable.

Why Fund This

Artistic creation has been too dependent on few players. So far, they define what most of us see or buy in the cultural sector. This has made the general public unattached to contemporary art, its new visions and developments. Meanwhile, most artists don’t have the business know-how to navigate the market and therefore struggle to reach financial sustainability. This problem is quite relevant across the general art sector because it is harder to capitalize on art when the community has no voice.

Our mission is to make culture blossom by empowering artists. By providing a community-based ecosystem where they can interact with different stakeholders and create a positive feedback loop, we will, ultimately, generate culture.

By focusing our approach on the artist’s side, something quite unexplored so far, incentivizing and educating the different stakeholders of the sector, we create cultural development supported from the ground-up by the artistic community, increasing the credibility of the art and its value. Our approach, focused on artists, art lovers and institutions, is made to incentivize win-win synergies between them, creating an organic ecosystem that eliminates what the community doesn’t desire. This approach has proven to be effective so far, guaranteeing us already two partnerships with the Faculties of Fine Arts of Porto and Lisbon (around 3.600 students in total), where, so far, we have done 2 Open Calls, one VR exhibit and one offline exhibition. They will be the first beta-testers of our ecosystem.

To be able to reach the full potential of capitalization of the art sector, we have to take into account the complete value chain of artistic creation. While the Rarible protocol designs the conditions and framework to formalize, create (with a variety of functions) and transact NFTs, we want to concentrate on what is missing across this chain of value. This mission complements Rarible Protocol offer, creating conditions to recurrently onboard new artists from the “traditional” art sector, to establish connections with institutions that are key for reaching the desired mass adoption, and, ultimately, to provide value to the art sector and new revenue streams for both organizations.

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