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Colorado Capitol building hosts first NFT art exhibit in a U.S. Statehouse

Public Good NFT art show on display at the Colorado statehouse
Shane Still
Courtesy of Golden Triangle Creative District
Public Good NFT art show on display at the Colorado statehouse

A new art exhibit of NFTs created by Colorado artists and collaborators opened this week at the Colorado State Capitol building in downtown Denver. The organizers say it is the first time a U.S. statehouse has hosted an all-NFT art exhibit.

Annie Phillips, founder IRL Art, the local NFT gallery that curated the show, says it’s only natural that Colorado’s statehouse is an early adopter when it comes to NFT artwork.

“Beyond any state in the United States, Colorado is really at the forefront of proactive support for blockchain technology,” she said. “Why we are the first state to do an NFT exhibit is that there has just been a lot of collaboration and support.”

Phillips says the support for blockchain technology in Colorado comes from the top. “Our governor is as a tech entrepreneur. There's also a Blockchain Innovation Council at the state level.” She also points to the Colorado ID app. “It's all powered by blockchain.”

The theme of the exhibit is the Public Good. Phillips says that means “the really good things that our tax dollars go to. Things like rec centers and libraries and transportation.”

Phillips says NFTs are an interesting lens through which to explore the theme of public good, in spite ofrecent upheavals in the crypto space. She says the public good “is a really powerful aspect of the philanthropic, humanitarian, altruism that's happening in in the crypto space. There's a lot of really incredible projects and communities and efforts being made to fund public goods.”

The artwork is on display in the statehouse rotunda and in the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor. Phillips hopes the theme of the artwork will have a positive influence on state lawmakers that pass by.

“In January is when the [legislative] sessions start, those offices are going to be heavily utilized. And that artwork will be seen by all of the people working hard on policy and legislation,” she said.

Visitors to the exhibit may be surprised to see some of the NFT art pieces on physical canvases. But Philips says the artwork lives on the blockchain and the physical canvas is almost besides the point. “When you buy the NFT [that’s] the verifiable ownership of that image. Basically, the canvas is kind of just icing on the cake.”

The State Capitol NFT Exhibition “Public Good” was curated by the Golden Triangle Creative District and IRL Art. It will be on display at the Colorado Statehouse through April 30. The rotunda portion of the exhibit is open to the public. Appointments are required to view the portions of the exhibit located in the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor.

I am the Rural and Small Communities Reporter at KUNC. That means my focus is building relationships and telling stories from under-covered pockets of Colorado.
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