Learn to See and Think Differently

The Balter Foundation started as a project at Harvard University in 2020 to honor diverse artists whose work helps people see and think differently. It became an independent entity in 2021.

The Future of Virtual Culture

The Balter Foundation is a non-profit creative social club and an experiment in creating a decentralized arts foundation. Our mission is to use art and community as a sort of everyday medicine.

In 2022, Balter is celebrating a carefully selected group of global artists whose work helps people ‘see and think differently’. These artists can be from any domain and any part of the world. Many artists will be featured and a few will be invited to create new collaborative works.

The Past: Timeless Art = Catharsis + Empathy

Artists make things that help us contemplate meaning in the world. Our founder is interested in future business models for artists as well as the emotional benefits of making and appreciating art.

Perhaps we are on the cusp of a more direct route for communities to experience art’s dual blessings of catharsis and empathy than has been possible in a long time.

Throughout history, art has helped people process emotions. Plato thought of art as beauty, a divine path that helped us navigate our contradictory desires. Enlightenment thinkers saw it as helping us escape meaningless routines to rise to a higher purpose. Anaïs Nin saw it as a way to release excess emotion. In all these views, art plays a role of catharsis. However, the greatest potential of art might be its ability to combine catharsis with empathy. Tolstoy saw art as a gateway to empathy with others and different sides of ourselves.

All this is very lofty. The point is simply that there is a long history of art as a tool for dealing with the things that keep us up at night, both alone and together. Our society is out of practice using the visual arts in this way, as an everyday way to manage emotions. 

The Future: New possibilities  

No one expects educational-psychological depth from blockchain-based art communities, nor do most people expect it from art more generally. But new technologies are emerging that enable new possibilities; and we are experimenting with them. We are here to learn what is possible and refine our point of view about what new technologies are best for visual and interactive media artists and their communities.

Balter means 'to dance without grace, but with extreme joy'

Balter x The GBs NFT 2022 Collab

Art and philosophy can have therapeutic benefits, especially when explored in a trusted community.

Balter and The GBs make a perfect partnership. They both value art that is psychologically and philosophically meaningful. The GB portraits, for example, are filled with symbols that represent ideas from philosophy, psychology, and culture. For GB holders who want to engage with it, the project offers an educational journey of psychological as well as art history concepts with a like-minded community. This is why every GB NFT doubled as a nomination token for the 2022 Balter Fellowship to help us select artworks and artists to feature.

The Balter Foundation x The GBs are creating a positive and welcoming art-filled community where people are encouraged to express their full complexity during the inevitable highs and lows of life, and to support that kind of digital interaction for others. There are no answers; the plan is to learn together from artists and philosophers from the past and present.

The Balter Fellowship: Honoring creatives who help people see and think differently.

Our invitation-only fellowship is designed to honor diverse creators and help them learn from each other, explore new business models, forge novel collaborations, or just enjoy trying. The program provides an online community where fellows can engage each other in co-working, critique, collaboration, and discussion. A priority discussion theme for 2022 will be emerging business models in the arts. Reach out to learn more, suggest a nominee, or to nominate yourself.

What is the expected commitment of fellows?

Fellows agree to show up for other creatives in the community. This means joining the online group, showing up to a couple of virtual events, and being open to discussion and collaboration with other fellows. The time commitment for most fellows is not more than a few hours a month.

Is this a formal affiliation? Does it come with funding?

This program has the sole purpose of honoring outstanding creatives and connecting them virtually around shared interests. All fellows remain based in their own practice and/or place of employment. There is no funding, no expectation to work on a specific project, and no formal or employee relationship implied with the fellowship.

Criteria for Nominees

To qualify, nominated creators and their projects should meet all of the following criteria:

  • World class: The creators and/or their projects are recognized as world-class
  • Inspiring: The work pushes the boundary of how design and the arts can shape a more vibrant and collaborative future society.
  • Diverse: The creators embody values of diversity in one or more ways: gender, race, culture, region, socioeconomic level, and their creative practice. We are open to nominations that are ‘outside’ the norms of their practice.

We also accept nominations of people who may not be creators themselves, but are curators, arts community builders, or otherwise have an extraordinary track record of supporting  diverse creatives and meaningfully including the communities represented in their work.

Art for your heart
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© Balter Foundation
Have a nice day!