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Artist Edison Peñafiel in his studio at Oolite Arts in South Beach.

for The Miami Herald

The NFL does it. The New York Times does it. Influencers and podcast hosts are obsessed with it.

Now, the Miami Herald is joining the ranks of organizations that are creating their own NFTs, it announced Friday.

The Miami Herald Collection, an NFT program of artworks by emerging and established local artists, will go on sale in mid-April. Profits from the collection will be shared between the artists and the nonprofit Miami Herald Impact Journalism Fund supporting local journalism.

The collection is a collaboration between the Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald, local galleries and Oolite Arts, a nonprofit arts organization. The Herald’s announcement came at Miami’s inaugural NFT Week, a three-day conference featuring speakers and workshops.

Even as Miami builds its booming tech hub reputation, the city’s visual art scene and local artists have been getting the international recognition they deserve, said Bob McFarlin, general manager of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

“This program will brighten the spotlight on them and help them reach new digitally savvy art consumers where crypto is on the rise,” McFarlin said.

An NFT, which stands for “non fungible token,” authenticates ownership of a digital asset, like art.

The Herald joins a growing number of well-known brands and media outlets that have begun selling NFTs. Last year, the NFL and NFL Players Association announced that it would sell video NFTs of top plays. An NBA clip of Lebron James dunking sold for $387,600. When a New York Times journalist minted a column as an NFT, he thought he’d be lucky to collect $800 to donate to charity. It sold for over $500,000.

The Herald’s NFT collection is much more affordable in comparison. Limited edition artworks by up-and-coming artists start at $50. Purchases can be made in U.S. dollars or in crypto currencies at nft.miamiherald.com.

“Whenever you see a new art delivery platform like NFTs, you want to help artists plug in and have a chance to participate,” said Oolite Arts President and CEO Dennis Scholl. “Partnering with the well-known, respected Miami Herald brand will bring attention to these artists and what they’re doing.”

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Artist Arturo Rodríguez, stands next to his piece Variation on Courbet (The Meeting) IV, 2021 oil on canvas 58 x 62 inches from his show Terra Incognita at LnS Gallery in Miami, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. Pedro Portal [email protected]

The first release features two works by Cuban-born painter Arturo Rodriguez, an artist that works with Miami’s LnS Gallery. Several of his artworks are held by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

The collection also includes works by two Oolite artists: Edison Peñafiel, whose work explores injustices, and Gonzalo Fuenmayor, a charcoal artist known for his intricate details.

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Artist Edison Peñafiel in his studio at Oolite Arts in South Beach. Alexia Foderé for The Miami Herald

Future releases will be planned monthly. In May, the collection will include work by renowned Haitian American artist Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Oolite residents Loni Johnson and Jen Clay.

Fuenmayor told the Miami Herald that he believes NFTs will transform the art marketplace as a whole.

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Gonzalo Fuenmayor Cortesía del artista

“There is this whole pyramid of artists and curators, galleries, and museums. NFTs will create its own structure,” he said. “Ten to 20 years from now, it will be a different game.”

This story was produced with financial support from The Pérez Family Foundation, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

This story was originally published April 4, 2022 8:40 AM.

By Indana