Miami plans to sell 5,000 digital art pieces as part of a new partnership with Time Magazine to support artists and generate revenue for the city and publisher.
Commissioners unanimously authorized administrators to finalize a plan to split the proceeds from sales of 5,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with the magazine and the artists. NFTs are digital assets where ownership can be verified using blockchain technology, and they can be digital artworks worth anywhere from a few bucks to millions of dollars.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez sponsored the plan. A relatively new city department, Venture Miami, coordinated the partnership, which will pay 56 artists to produce the NFTs. Commissioners will recommend some artists from their districts for the program, and Time will work with Bakehouse Art Complex to commission work from others. Under the plan, Time will manage the sales of the NFTs.
An initial proposal would have had artists create alternative designs of the city seal and the key to the city, but commissioners said those designs are “sacred” and should be left alone. Venture Miami Director Erick Gavin said the city adjusted the plan to focus on the history and culture of the city of Miami, not “NFKeys to the city” or the city seal.
Under the deal, Time would lead the sales of NFTs that are inspired by Miami’s history and culture. The magazine publisher is expected to spend $514,312 on the program, which will be reimbursed by sales of the NFTs. Any excess dollars will be divided up, with the city receiving 50%, local Miami artists 25%, Time 15% and a local charity 10%.
“The ultimate goal is to raise a lot of money because some of it will go to charity,” said Soledad Cedro, spokesperson for the mayor.
Cedro said Time was decided to manage the sales because of its track record for making large profits on NFT sales. The publisher has generated $10 million in profit from NFT sales in the last year, according to a July 17 CNBC report.
The local charity has not yet been identified because the agreement with Time has not yet been finalized.
A 10% royalty will be collected if original buyers sell the NFTs, with proceeds following the same splits between the city, local artists, time and the charity.
Tara Long, an artist in residence at Bakehouse, said the initiative is a great way to elevate artists working in the digital space.
“Not only will the opportunity bring visibility to our practices, but it will also create a way for us to generate income from selling the work on the platform,” she said. “With the cost of living as high as it is, it’s important for the city to help contribute to economic sustainability for local artists through initiatives like this one.”