Elise Swopes is an NFT artist who founded Sunrise Art Club, a community and agency dedicated to women of color in Web3. She also co-founded Night On The Yard, the first NFT marketplace dedicated to ending the hidden impact of incarceration by helping onboard incarcerated artists to sell their work as NFTs. Jetzi Calvin, a fellow artists, works with Swopes on both projects. They spoke with BFF on what they see as the future for social impact NFTs.
You have to figure out how you can communicate with people to make them want to do something that may not necessarily be a PFP flip, but there is, potential there to build community and to elevate people and to be a part of an innovative community that's shaping a new frontier. There's nothing better than supporting and nurturing and and helping people grow in an innovative way, whether it's funding or inclusive environments.
I think the hardest thing is that right now specifically everyone's always talking about utility. But when you're doing work that's supposed to be for good, there isn't necessarily always going to be utility there. That is so exciting for some people, but I think that's one thing we're just consistently reassessing and reanalyzing is how can we make charity fun? How can we make it very community driven?
The biggest thing is being authentic. You're not always going to be the most popular, which I think is OK because you know I guess that is something that's really difficult as well in this space is sometimes when you bring up the difficulties that a lot of people tend to say that, you know, color doesn't matter and gender doesn't matter in this space and stuff. But when we look at the numbers, it matters because if we're not being intentional, then tribalism and natural tendencies of humans occur.
It takes a lot of reassessment and a lot of reanalyzing because you kind of have to come from a place of like, what desires do people have? With Night On The Yard, our incarcerated marketplace, when we are launched, it wasn’t as fantastic as we would have expected. We had so much support from people but we weren't getting any bids. So we're on our side really considering how we can make sure that we're not just telling people, “Hey, this is how we're going to recreate rehabilitation and here's the numbers,” but how can we really make people feel connected and interested in what's going on?
You have to build a community of people not only who support you, but have the same passion. They care about the same things as you. You can’t just start selling NFT's.That was like the first tip that I got when I came into Web3. A lot gets lost in translation. We have the first NFT marketplace for incarcerated artists. That's a huge deal. But I feel like when you say that, the regular person on the street, they're like, “OK, But what does that mean?”
It’s something that is so innovative and has a potential to be life changing, but it's like how do we explain it? We can educate people as much as we want to, but I feel like oftentimes it's like screaming into the void and I think that kind of also just translates into on the ground organizing. How do you get people to care? Ultimately it's really just accurately and honestly and vulnerably telling each other's stories in a way that actually sticks with someone for the rest of their lives.
For more tips and insights, listen to the full conversation with Elise and Jetzi here
This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.