Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

January 10, 2023

'Hopeful' artist Charlie Hewitt and WEX unite to benefit United Way

person at table with artworks COURTESY / MAINERMEDIA Charlie Hewitt is surrounded by artworks that he turned into non-fungible tokens.

Portland artist Charlie Hewitt — known for his "Hopeful" neon light marquees — will collaborate with WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) and Moss Galleries in Portland to create a digitally informed exhibit, with part of the proceeds benefiting United Way.

colorful drawing of fish
Courtesy / Charlie Hewitt
Hewitt’s depiction of a deepwater lanternfish, converted into an NFT, illustrates his bold colors and sense of humor.

Hewitt, whose retro-styled “Hopeful” neon light marquees have become his trademark, has turned to a new form of art with his first digital collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. NFTs are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata, according to

Collectors have sought NFTs for their value — in this case, as artwork.

In his late 70s, Hewitt is no stranger to embracing new technology.

A Lewiston native with studios in Portland and Jersey City, N.J., his paintings, prints and sculptures are represented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library and Brooklyn Museum, among others. 

In recent years, Hewitt discovered new creative possibilities with neon sculpture, most notably of the word “hopeful” in a retro automotive font that's been installed across seven states at dozens of sites. 

Earlier this year, he began creating a collection of NFTs using bold, colorful images that  started as humorous artworks drawn with Sharpie markers, cut out, collaged and digitized. Hewitt released his first collection of 50 NFTs and created a digital platform designed for NFT e-commerce. 

The second phase of his collection of NFTs was designed to find another use for the digital technology based on philanthropy.

The exhibit, “Charlie Hewitt: Bright Screens and Electric Dreams,” will feature 56 NFTs along with framed prints and neon sculptures. 

WEX is donating the use of its “digital wallet,” called Flume, to facilitate the purchase of Hewitt’s framed prints and neon sculptures during the exhibition.

Flume is a software and payment platform built by WEX to help small businesses pay and get paid faster. The platform is designed to allow businesses to manage their jobs, payments and documents in one digital application. 

“At WEX, we believe that both the arts and small businesses are fundamental building blocks to thriving communities,” Melissa Smith, chair and CEO of WEX, said in a news release.

Twenty percent of each NFT sale will go to United Way, an international nonprofit focused on education, income and health.

The United Way chapters in Maine will benefit from the sale of the art, said Liz Cotter Schlax, president and CEO of United Way of Southern Maine.

NFT buyers will receive commercialization rights, a signed physical print and access to Hewitt’s bi-weekly newsletter.

The exhibit will be on view at Moss Galleries, at 100 Fore St. in Portland, from Jan. 14-22, with an opening reception Saturday, Jan. 14, from 5-7 p.m.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF