MusiCares, the charitable arm of the Recording Academy, has partnered with the Amy Winehouse Foundation to auction off a rare photo of the late singer-songwriter as a non-fungible token (NFT), with all proceeds set to help the two charities support musicians struggling with mental health, addiction and substance abuse.
Taken by photographer Charles Moriarty, the photo NFT captures Winehouse in a phone booth in downtown New York City, and was animated in the style of a comic strip by visual artist Mark Palkoski. The NFT — which comes with a limited-edition print of the original image signed by Moriarty — is open for bidding on the NFT marketplace OpenSea now through May 30 at 7 p.m. EST, with the reserve price of 3 Ether (equivalent to about $10,147). As of Tuesday morning, no bids have yet been placed.
The Grammy-winning icon died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, having suffered from drug and alcohol addiction for much of her life. The Amy Winehouse Foundation was set up by her family that September to help young people make informed choices about drugs and alcohol.
“Here at MusiCares, we’ve seen time and time again how struggles with mental health can negatively impact someone’s life. That is why we’re proud to collaborate with the Amy Winehouse Foundation to not only honor Amy and her incredible life and career but also help those who are suffering from this devastating disease,” MusiCares executive director Laura Segura said. “… We are here to help the people behind the music and we couldn’t be any more proud of this endeavor.”
The auction is part of a series of events throughout 2021 to mark the 10th anniversary of Winehouse’s passing. That includes an in-person Back to Amy exhibit at City Winery Nashville, featuring more of Moriarty’s photos, and a three-hour livestream on July 23, a portion of ticket sales from which will also benefit MusiCares and the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
“Charles has captured a fresh-faced Amy full of life and fun, I treasure those photos,” Amy’s mother, Janis Winehouse, said of the exhibit.
Philanthropy has emerged as a popular use case for NFTs, a form of digital collectibles bought and sold on the blockchain. Over the past several weeks, artists including David Guetta, Mick Jagger, Matchbox Twenty, Kings of Leon, Shawn Mendes and Halsey have donated either the entirety or a portion of NFT proceeds to a range of charities, and last month, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) partnered with artists like Tove Lo and Dillon Francis on an NFT collection which raised more than $200,000 for its efforts to help struggling independent music venues stay afloat during the pandemic.