How We Brought the Toledo Museum of Art Onchain

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April 2, 2024

Recently, we celebrated the successful wrap of the Mojito-Powered Sankofa Carnival, a digital art experience at the Toledo Museum of Art which showcased a three-part collection of digital works from two incredible creators: Osinachi, a Nigerian artist widely loved in the NFT community; and Yusuf Lateef, a legend of the local Toledo art scene.

The project's entire minting process (including an IRL QR code scanning option), wallet setup, and community management tools were built by Mojito's invisible web3 technology.

Below, we've highlighted some moments from an X Spaces with artists Osinachi and Yusuf Lateef, Calvin Burchfiel (Web3 lead at Toledo Museum of Art), and Raquel Cornejo (Mojito Consumer Engagement Lead / Go to Market team).

Keep reading to learn how the Sankofa Carnival drop helped Toledo Museum seamlessly use new technology, engage its audience, and tell a powerful story about how art can connect people across cultures.

From Zero to One: Bringing Web3 Experiences to Life

Calvin Burchfiel, Technology Lead, Toledo Museum: “I think the closest the museum had done to something like this was Stan Douglas’ Doppelgänger, which was an experience and film done in Decentraland — that was sort of the first foray into web3. After that, they wanted to go into something a lot more intentionally — and to do so in a more long-term way. That’s one of the things I like about museums; they have a long view of society and their role in it. They can’t afford to chase trends and jump on things that don’t make sense. But as soon as they saw this was a real thing, with real artists, it made sense to them, and they were keen to explore, experiment, and learn more.”

Osinachi, digital artist: “In late 2017, I discovered art on the blockchain and NFTs. In 2018, I [started creating] and realized I was the first African artist in [web3]. I met other digital artists facing the same issues in traditional artwork who felt like [NFTs] were like their own home, meeting artists like themselves and just putting out the work adding value through the blockchain. That has been my journey. And I've been privileged to be at the right place at the right time, collaborating with people in traditional art, Christie's, and Sotheby's, collaborating with several galleries and so many web3-native brands. The peak of my artistic career was this residency at the Toledo Museum of Art last year, which was an awesome experience.”

Osinachi. Source: Christies

Raquel Cornejo, Go to Market Manager, Mojito: “The first step is that a brand needs to have an idea and a vision — not just a one-off drop, but something that will truly last a long time, with some strategy around that. That's what makes Mojito's tools so powerful. Once we agree on the vision, the first step is locking in the project's scope. Every web3 project differs across every industry, and we must understand the UI and UX our customer envisions. Once we lock in the scope, we want to hit the ground running with the project and quickly shift into planning and development. This is where we work closely with the client to monitor any of the development with the engineers and collect any of the deliverables or media assets needed for the site kickoff marketing. Then we go live.”

Solving Challenges and Creating Opportunities through Experimentation and Exploration

Calvin (Toledo Museum): “To an extent, the Sankofa Carnival solves challenges around distribution and things like that — and we were able to get art into the hands of people around the world using Mojito and NFTs. That's something we wouldn't normally be able to do. The project was more about experimentation, exploring the space, and meeting artists where they live. Digital artists have been around for a long time. As an artist, seeing the NFT thing take off was a big opportunity for monetization for people working in digital art — if you like to create digital art and couldn't make money at it before, now you could. That's a fantastic thing that it does. But that doesn't necessarily help the museum itself [continued below…]

Series Four: 1 of 1 Yusuf Lateef

"...But, having that technology in place does allow the museum to connect with those artists and those audiences much more quickly than we would otherwise be able to. That's one of the places where new opportunities arise. A lot of the properties of blockchain will allow us to tap into new opportunities over time. It will take a while before we set up a lot of the things we'd like to set up, like rewarding people for having art that they collect through the museum, where they can get discounts for holding something. Those are things we'd like to do at some point. As Raquel and Osinachi both mentioned about the right approach, it's about taking your time, doing things correctly, and not rushing to jump on a trend. "

Leveraging Web3 Tools for Brand Growth, Reach, and Dynamic Insights

Raquel Cornejo (Mojito): "Mojito's APIs are designed to operate in the background and abstract away the complexities of web3. The features Toledo used were the templatized version of our claim offering. So it's a three-step claim flow: you have the UI and the UX there, and from there, you can go to market quickly. They also used our portal, the minting capability, as well as our token gating feature, our reporting feature, and then our brand's hosted wallet offering."

Calvin (Toledo Museum): “Having an artist from Toledo [Yusuf Lateef] working with an artist from Nigeria [Osinachi] — anyone that I've talked to, has just been thrilled by what we've done. I think people were excited to finally get a chance to do something with NFTs and to kind of try to understand them or to work with them. And to do it easily. It's one of the reasons we went with Mojito because it was quite easy for people to understand that they didn't have to build their wallets or self-custody or do any of that kind of stuff. I see how an art-first mindset played out successfully and was valuable to see; we'll be doing that more in the future. We won't be doing any cash grabs or cheap projects or anything like that.

We've minted a lot of NFTs — it’s been a great experience for everyone.”

Osinachi and Yusuf Lateef.

Raquel Cornejo, (Mojito): The typical strategy for most brands when entering the space is doing some kind of free earned NFT offering. Lots of brands see distributing free tokens as an opportunity to collect wallet data and start developing a deep understanding of consumers' behaviors and preferences. Typically these free NFTs are a gift with purchase or proof of experience token. And the best part is these digital mementos can represent just about anything…. For example, a token that represents a moment, a discount, a membership, or even a physical item.

Toledo Museum of Art was one of the first clients to use Mojito’s earned NFT “template” offering. Our templates give brands access to our trusted UI/UX designs so that they can focus on launching and distributing digital memorabilia.

And so Mojito designed a template — UI/UX — so that brands can just kind of focus on launching and distributing this digital memorabilia. The token-gated feature is pretty straightforward: it just restricts participation and drops to only users who have collected artwork from a drop or two. It’s incentivizing people who had already participated, to continue engaging. And we’re gathering metrics around that. [continued below…]

"...One of the key things that brands typically need is a robust reporting and analytics system so that they can understand their customers and strategize on how to use insights and analytics for future drops. We also have a reporting feature within our portal, where Toledo could come in, and they could see how much gas was spent, how many people have claimed, what were the wallets being used, and then gather that information to either do something today or something for the future. Lastly, a really big thing Toledo used was our hosted wallet offering, which gave Toledo the power to provide any user new to web3 with an easy-to-use digital wallet. They log in using their email, and everything was fully branded with Toledo's logo, so it feels very familiar. The goal here is just to abstract away the web3 layer. Nobody wants to do a seed phrase while they're trying to do a quick claim. So it's kind of just about simplifying the process.

What's also really important for big brands is connecting the data to other marketing tools, so when users are creating these “web 2.5” wallets with their emails, brands like Toledo have the opportunity to gather that information and target those users for future projects and releases.”


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