Championing disability inclusion in the arts and Web3
ARTXV is a cultural hub and community focused on providing support for creatives in the disabled community to thrive and take up space in both the traditional art world and the rapidly growing Web3 industry.
Centred around empowerment, inclusion and celebration, ARTXV amplifies the talent and stories of the disabled community that have long been undiscovered due to the systemic barriers they face in both the art industry and wider society.
Disability is the largest minority in the world, yet 87% of arts venues in more than 40 countries don’t include disabled people in any part of the process.
Founded in 2021 by two sisters from London: Ava and Tara, an autistic, non-verbal artist, ARTXV’s story began when Ava tried to get Tara's work recognised by the traditional art world.
Ava struggled and was met with dismissive responses once they realised that Tara was autistic. Suggestions for Tara to join a charity or sell postcards of her work on Etsy made it clear that the art world did not see disabled artists as legitimate artists.
"The art world is by nature full of extraordinary things. It is a shame that so many neurodiverse artists, often with unique interpretations, experiences and talent of the world around them have struggled to find a home within it."
- Caleb Lewis, artist
From here the two sisters set out to find a new creative space. One that welcomed change, valued community and celebrated diversity.
ARTXV was born. Starting off as a NFT collective and consequently becoming the first Web3 organisation for the disabled community, ARTXV experimented with these emerging technologies to explore alternative ways to bring exposure and financial independence to neurodivergent artists.
Art in a collection named 'The Power of Neurodiversity' was sold, our artists had their work featured on Google Arts & Culture, Forbes, Times Square and in subway stations worldwide, showing the world that these undiscovered artists just needed the accessibility measures in order to take on the world and take their rightful space in the art industry.
The Social Model of Disability:
The understanding that people are disadvantaged by barriers in society, not by their diagnosis or differences. Barriers can be physical, institutional, even to do with attitude. Removing these barriers is a step towards equality, independence and freedom.
ARTXV has now grown into an organisation serving the entire disabled community in the arts and everything web3, championing disability inclusion at the intersection of creative and technical industries.
ARTXV is dedicated to providing opportunities, resources, a safe space to learn and a united front to show the world the disabled community, by the disabled community.
"Digital access and skills are essential to enabling people to fully participate in an increasingly digital society. Tackling the digital divide will be crucial to addressing social and economic inequalities and levelling up every community."
-UK House of Commons
“As my own career, goals and dreams progressed, I never wanted Tara's to be left behind. Disabled people want to work, to contribute to society and to create a legacy for themselves - they just need the opportunities and accessibility measures to do so."
- Ava, ARTXV founder
What is ARTXV?ARTXV is an organisation championing disability inclusion in the arts and Web3. It was the first organisation serving the disabled community in the Web3 ecosystem, founded back in 2021. ARTXV started out as a NFT collective for neurodivergent artists in an attempt to explore a different and potentially more accessible space for disabled artists to thrive in. It has now expanded to support the whole disabled community, to empower disabled individuals to get involved in every sector within Web3 and to also provide opportunities within the traditional art world.
What are ARTXV's values?At its core, ARTXV stands for inclusion, empowerment and celebration. We celebrate the creativity and innovation of the disabled community and the abundance of raw talent, along with a unique lived experience which brings a fresh perspective to both creative and technical industries. However, we also recognise systemic discrimination and barriers that face the community that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential. We believe in the social model of disability and are supporters of campaigns such as #ActuallyAutistic and #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs, standing firm in the belief that disabled people should speak for and represent themselves, which unfortunately is rarely the case. This is reflected in our creative projects which place a strong emphasis on storytelling and showing the world who the disabled community is, by the disabled community. ARTXV is also passionate about allyship and ending the segregation that exists between the disabled and non-disabled community - so if you are not disabled and reading this, ARTXV is for you too!
What is Web3?Web3 is a new growing sector in technology. It encompasses innovations that use something called 'blockchain', a type of technology. More commonly known innovations within Web3 include cryptocurrency and NFTs. There's a lot of buzz around what these are in the news (both good and bad!), but what does this have to do with ARTXV and the disabled community? 1) The Web3 space has a huge creative component to it, with many artists getting involved to sell digitised versions of their work, gain new opportunities and find creative communities. For example, art can be sold as NFTs (you can learn what a NFT is here). 2) Like many other sectors in technology, organisations have been formed to support underrepresented groups (e.g. women) enter the space. Until ARTXV, no organisation existed to support the disabled community in Web3. 3) Web3 is a rapidly growing sector within technology and learning about it falls within the realm of improving digital literacy within the disabled community, something of immense importance to us. Whatever opinions exist on Web3, crypto and all of those buzzwords, resources and support must be readily available for the disabled community so that individuals can explore it for themselves.
What does ARTXV do?ARTXV is currently predominantly focused on creative projects, whether in the traditional or digital art world, which focus on showcasing disabled artists and increasing their representation in these industries. We partner with brands, galleries and organisations to spread our message as far as possible and to provide our artists with exciting opportunities that will benefit their careers. We are also working on supporting disabled creatives, project leaders and entrepreneurs in the Web3 space to empower them to start their own initiatives. This will include education, onboarding and financial assistance amongst other resources. If you or your company would like to support this mission, please reach out to us via the Contact Us page on our website.
I saw ARTXV's the Power of Neurodiversity project. What is neurodiversity?Neurodiversity is simply neuro-diversity. The spectrum or diversity of human minds and brain function. Neurodivergence is brain function that differs to the majority or 'the norm' (whatever that means). It is an umbrella term for a number of different disabilities and/or conditions including autism, ADHD, OCD, BPD and synesthesia. The Neurodiversity Movement refers to the growing movement within the community to change outdated misconceptions of what it means to be neurodivergent; instead of a disadvantage or hindrance, it is simply a diversity (which is a wonderful quality and a powerful asset)!
How many disabled people are there in the world?Did you know that disability is the largest minority in the world? At the time of launching ARTXV, the global estimate was 15% of the world, over 1 billion people! Fun fact: that is where the name ARTXV comes from, ART and XV the Roman numerals for 15. This number is only growing, yet disabled people are one of the least represented groups and are often left out of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) conversation. ARTXV is here to change this.
How can we support ARTXV?Thank you for your support! There are several ways to support our mission: 1) Donations - we accept both regular and crypto donations, please click on the 'Donations' button at the bottom of our website. If you would like to discuss corporate sponsorships then please reach out via 'Contact Us'. 2) Partnerships and collaborations - if you own or work for a gallery, brand, charity, Web3 or art organisation and would like to create something special together, reach out! We are always on the lookout for special communities to work with and collaborations are our bread and butter. 3) Be an ally - spread the power and creativity of the disabled community! Show some love on our socials, introduce us to your art and tech friends and to anyone who will listen. Read up on good disability allyship (we particularly love this easy-to-read article from our friends at Diversability), call out discrimination when you see it and support the disabled community both online and in real life.