Demystifying the future: trends, tools and grants you cannot miss in 2020

Predicting the future is an unrewarding business. Peaking around the corner for insights to ease you into it – a must.

In a world where global issues are piling up, we are manically looking for answers – in politics, innovation, spirituality. We did our part and took some time to see what’s going on in the art and tech world of 2020. In short? AR is all the rage, with promises of physical superpowers and apps that are already changing our social media feeds forever. Data ownership is becoming less of an abstract concept – it’s now up to us to seek knowledge and tools to manage it. And if it’s all a bit too much to handle, the Internet scientists are working on creating an online digital detox area.

We have also compiled a list of some of the most exciting grant opportunities for artists: when in doubt, keep creating!

5 (digested) Trends for 2020

Transparency, digitization, globalization and diversity have been some of the defining topics of recent years. Although they became too common to list here as stand-alone, they will undoubtedly remain the overarching themes in the new decade. In our selection for 2020, we decided to take a more in-depth look at how some of the popular trends worth bearing in mind as well as why they are important.  

Mind the generation gap

The concept of selling art online picked up in the last ten years. The difference we see now is that by the end of 2019, the market hit a tipping point. And that’s news worth mentioning. It was the first time in an Art Basel report that the majority of online sales by dealers were to new customers.

Why is the rise of new customers so significant? Simple, consider this: 93% of millennial High Net Worth (HNW) collectors buy art online in contrast to only a minority of baby boomers. This data means that millennial HNW’s dominate online sales.

How is this a trend? Institutions and artists will need to not only redefine their target audience but also establish new marketing strategies to stay relevant. We are not talking about your gallery or PR assistant, finally learning what SEO stands for. We are saying that you need a person that understands how to gather and analyse data that the customers are leaving. And don’t forget to clean up that newsletter list by interest while you’re at it.

And yes, if you don’t have a website you better hurry up! Your .ART names are not going to be available forever.

Agency of digital amazement

Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore coined the term “Experience Economy” in a 1998 article as the next economy following the agrarian economy, the industrial economy, and the most modern service economy. The idea was that a memory of an organized event becomes the product.

In art, a parallel could be drawn to performance, by experiencing which visitors could hold on to the memory of the experience. What technology has allowed us to do is to multiply these experiences and add layers of immersion using light, sounds, and new forms of moving image, all of which strengthen the existing experience. Yayoi Kusama’s mirror rooms and Teamlab’s or Artech House’s ticketed digital shows became the experience economy within the arts.

Mobile phones equipped users to capture the memory of the experience as well as prolong it. Sharing the experiences via social channels also became a continuation of the event, causing virality of its consumption.

How is this relevant? This year marks the rise of artist-led digital agencies. Teamlab, Refik Anadol Studio, Ouchhh and many others have demonstrated a morphing between an agency and an art practice. You probably spotted some of the taglines such as “creative new media agency with cross-discipline expertise”, “an art collective, interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists” or “Art and design studio that explores the intersection of media arts and architecture through machine intelligence”. Immersive experiences are on the rise and this year we will see even more brands jump on that train.

Female touch

Candice Breitz, Stills from Love Story 2016. Featuring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin. Top: Shabeena Francis Saveri, Sarah Ezzat Mardini, Mamy Maloba Langa / Bottom: José Maria João, Farah Abdi Mohamed, Luis Ernesto Nava Molero.

After the most extensive anthology of women artists was published in 2019 (Great Women Artists by Phaidon) we haven’t merely learnt about the previously neglected great names, we expect and crave to hear more. That’s why in 2020 the crowds can expect to attend 2x more shows featuring female artists as well as learn and hear about the hidden histories.

Christopher Bedford, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, made a radical approach to balance the gender inequality in the museum by saying they will only acquire female-identifying artists in 2020. What a way to start diversifying the collection.

Gazelli Art House in London kick-starts the year with an exhibition that highlights female artists from the New York 9th Street exhibition of 1951. The notable show of the ’50s is considered as a ground-breaking moment for modern art. Artists featured at Gazelli include Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner, each of which also has retrospectives at Tate and the Barbican centre this year. Moreover, in coming months Tate will for the first time simultaneously host solo shows by female artists in all four of their galleries. Artists featured include Candice Breitz, Zanele Muholi, Haegue Yang and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.


AR filter by Ines Alpha

There are many reasons to be excited about AR. You can read about a new prototype almost every day in the news. For example, the most recent announcement talks about Mojo, AR contact lenses that “give your eyes superpowers”. While we are far from having superpowers, there are plenty of artists making magic using technology.

Even companies tried building platforms to showcase AR art. Unfortunately, these required downloading an app and let’s be honest, who downloads an app in the gallery? Users need simple solutions. That’s why social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all have the functionality to let visitors quickly engage with AR filter or geo-located art. For example, artist Alex Israel launched event-specific AR work during Cannes Lions in 2019.

So far galleries and museums found use-cases in VR to try and keep their visitors engaged. However, the technology is expensive to maintain, and the hardware is changing too fast for institutions to adapt. AR solutions, on the other hand, are more agile and cost-effective. There are opportunities for artists and museum professionals who are open to learning about this tool.

Mindful digital consumption

The trend for a “digital detox” has been escalating as more people are deactivating their Facebook accounts and choosing to switch off phones for dinner parties. While technology became tricky to eliminate, there are a growing number of alternatives that can help us achieve mindful digital consumption. Brands and institutions are responding to the issue through various initiatives.

Samsung recently launched The Frame screens featuring Quantum Dot technology. The Frame has “Art Mode” that allows users to access artworks from a range of museums and other cultural partners. While Art Mode doesn’t aim to substitute streaming services such as Netflix, it does call for an alternative and balanced use of the screen.

A recent show at the Somerset house curated by Sarah Cook is also an excellent example of the trend, it featured Mat Collishaw and Addie Wagenknecht. Titled ‘24/7, A WAKE-UP CALL FOR OUR NON-STOP WORLD’, the exhibition invited its visitors to take a look at their lives from an observer’s point of view and to “engage, reflect and reset”.

3 Digital Tools to try right now!

Mine: the Future of Data Ownership

If you ever wondered how large is your digital footprint or even better, which companies own it, look no more. Mine allows its users to identify which companies have your financial, social network and even identity data. Based on the email you provide, it can trackback the entities that have you on file. Moreover, it also acts as an intermediary, allowing one to hit “Reclaim” and request the data to be erased.

Meisai: what your Instagram stories are missing

Still from Kitasenju’s Meisai app

A self-proclaimed “poor Japanese noncreative coder”, Kitasenju created quite possibly last year’s coolest app. Essentially, an AR filter application, it transforms reality around you into bizarre, surreal and sometimes freaky digital experiences. Still a newcomer to the app stage, it’s the perfect option to spice up your Instagram stories and get all your friends to ask how you’re doing it!

Stills from Kitasenju’s Meisai app


Launched in 2011, Procreate is tailored to the creative needs of iPad and iPhone artists of all levels. The app lets one create a natural feel of a physical drawing offering over 130 realistic brushes, modes and masks. After eight years, 13 languages,multiple awards and a smartphone edition, Procreate is one of the most advanced painting apps ever designed for a mobile device.

Grants Available for Artists and Curators in 2020

Do you ever wonder how artists travel all the time? Well, via grants and residencies of course! If you know where to look, there are endless opportunities for all kinds of cultural initiatives. Support for emerging cultural practitioners is critical for early and mid-career development, making grants and residencies an excellent way of getting your art in front of international audiences and providing a stable path for growth.  

Over at .ART, we want to see artists at all stages of their career expand their reach, so we have compiled a list of some of our favourite and most exciting opportunities for artists this year. May 2020 be full of new and exciting artistic adventures, professional development and, of course, grants!


“Two prizes are offered to honor innovative projects at the intersection of science, technology and the arts: one for artistic exploration, and thus projects with the potential to influence or change the way technology is deployed, developed or perceived, and one for innovative collaboration between industry/technology and art/culture in ways that open up new paths for innovation.:

Eligibility: Artists, all nationalities

Focus: Arts and technology

Amount: 20,000

Deadline: March 2, 2020 

Stochastic Labs Residency

Stochastic Labs awards fully-sponsored residencies to exceptional engineers, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs from around the world. Residencies are of variable length and include a private apartment at the mansion, co-working and/or dedicated workspace, shop access (laser cutter, 3D printer etc), a $1k monthly stipend and a budget for materials. Residents become part of Stochastic’s creative community, participating in weekly dinners and invitation events. Residents may apply as individuals or as teams. While applicants may be at any stage in their career, the selection is highly competitive. 

Eligibility: Artists interested in the intersections of art, science, and technology. Projects can be in any medium.  Creative coders, deep learning enthusiasts, AR/VR auteurs, game and app developers, neuroscientists, bio-designers, roboticists, data artists, musicians, animators, animal behaviorists, physicists, and world builders of all kinds apply for residencies with us.

Amount: Monthly $1,000 stipend

Deadline: Rolling

Location: San Francisco, CA

The “Big Artist Opportunities List”

The “Big Artist Opportunities List” is a collection of over 400 opportunities for artists across the globe. The list includes tips about scene building, pricing, working for “exposure,” residencies, scam avoidance, commissions/loans/gifts, budgeting for a project, and much more. Though it is focused mostly on US-based grants and residencies, there are several opportunities in there for grants and residences outside the US.

Check it out!

Sustainable Arts Foundation Award Program

The Sustainable Arts Foundation’s goal is to encourage parents to continue pursuing their creative passion, and to rekindle it in those who may have let it slide. The foundation offers unrestricted cash awards and residency grants to artists and writers with families — specifically, at least one child under the age of 18.

Eligibility: Artists and writers with at least one child under the age of 18 and a strong portfolio of work, in fine arts and writing

Amount: $5,000 each to 20 artists

Deadline: February 28, 2020

The Hopper Prize

The Hopper Prize is offering multiple artist grants totalling $5,000 awarded through an open call competition juried by leading curators. Grants are dispersed twice annually.

Eligibility: Artists worldwide, 18 and older

Amount: five artists will each receive $1,000

Deadline: May 19, 2020

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

Established as part of Lee Krasner’s legacy, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant was set up to support and strengthen the creative lives of artists. A competitive grant for artists with extensive exhibition records, this grant has a long list of impressive alumni. Since its start in 1985, the foundation has granted over 65 million dollars in award money to artists in over 77 countries.

Eligibility: Mid-career professional artists with demonstrable financial need.  Artists must be actively exhibiting their current work in professional artistic venues, such as gallery and museum spaces. Painters, sculptors, and artists who work on paper, including printmaking.

Amount: Awards range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on need and circumstance.

Deadline: Ongoing

Awesome Foundation Grant

A micro-granting organization, funding “awesome” ideas, The Awesome Foundation set up local chapters around the world to provide rolling grants of $1000 to “awesome projects.” Each chapter defines what is “awesome” for their local community, but most include arts initiative and public or social practice art projects.

Eligibility: Anyone is eligible for a grant — individuals, groups, and organizations alike. Any Field. Each chapter has their own requirements, most consider arts projects.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: Ongoing—monthly grants offered.

Also published on Medium.

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.

Please answer a few questions to continue reading.
It will only take a couple of minutes, promise!

Get started