The World's First NFT Museum Just Opened in Seattle

The museum aims to educate the public about NFTs and show works by international and local artists.

What is the artistic value of a computer-generated, 24-pixel avatar? And how come a JPEG file is worth more than a Mark Rothko painting? These are all questions Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton, the founders of the brand-new Seattle NFT Museum (SNFT), hope to answer as one of the most highly anticipated new museums of 2022 opens.

The 3,000-square-foot space in the Emerald City's Belltown neighborhood, which officially opened to the public on Jan. 14, is divided into three exhibition platforms. On each platform, visitors will find 30 displays showing NFT artworks by international and local artists. The founders of the museum opted for an unconventional setup for one, simple reason: why go analog with a medium that isn't?

Seattle artist, Charles Peterson - "Chris Cornell, Soundgarden, The Vogue, Seattle, 1987"
Seattle artist, Charles Peterson - "Chris Cornell, Soundgarden, The Vogue, Seattle, 1987". Courtesy of @coldie/Seattle NFT Museum

"One of the things that inspired us by visiting some of the first NFT galleries [...] was seeing it in a large format and feeling what it's like to be in a room, in a space not attached to a device and just seeing it on display," Hamilton told Travel + Leisure in an interview. "It's a very, very different experience. And on top of that, another part of museums is certainly community and connection, and the social aspect of what they can provide."

While both Wong and Hamilton work in tech, they hope that SNFT will attract people from all walks of life who are curious to experience and learn about the medium that swept the art world by storm last year. An education manager will be on-site at the museum to field any NFT and blockchain-related questions.

Seattle artist, Robbie Trevino - "Scouts"
Seattle artist, Robbie Trevino - "Scouts". Courtesy of @winternft/Seattle NFT Museum

The museum's current headliner is Los Angeles-based artist Blake Kathryn, whose futuristic 3D landscapes in pastels have made her a star in the crypto world. Other works on display include Larva Labs's hugely popular CryptoPunks avatars, Eric Calderon's (a.k.a. Snowfro) Chromie Squiggles, as well as pieces from generative artist Tyler Hobbs and several Seattle-based artists including Neon Saltwater, Robbie Trevino, and photographer Charles Peterson who has "minted" never-before-seen photographs of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain into NFTs.

"Before NFTs, digital art was highly underrepresented because of its right-click-save-as nature," said Hamilton. "And so many of these artists have been underrepresented and underappreciated. […] And we're just really excited to start bringing some more notoriety to those types of artists and focus on their medium, their practice, their inspiration, like you would with a painter, but you know, with their digital paintbrush."

Tickets to the newly open museum cost $15 and can be purchased here.

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