Organized by the nonprofit organization Art+Feminism and Wikimedia DC, the region’s official outreach organization for Wikipedia, the annual Wiki Edit-a-Thon enlists volunteers to help close the gender gap in Wikipedia’s coverage of female artists by creating new profiles and enhancing existing ones. The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) has hosted the edit-a-thons in person since 2014; because of the ongoing pandemic, this year’s edition was held entirely online today, August 11. Titled Black Artists Matter, the event was dedicated to artists of color in the NMWA’s collection, with a focus on women from the African diaspora.
Most of these artists, such as Zanele Muholi, Amy Sherald, and Alison Saar, already had Wikipedia pages. But even existing profiles require significant updating, proofing, and expanding: 1,085 words and 14 new references were added to African American photographer Lorna Simpson’s article, for example. In total, volunteers edited 85 articles and created two profiles, adding 17,200 words and 180 references to pages primarily about Black women.
Some artists, like printmaker Delita Martin — whose work resides in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, and the Mid America Print Council, among institutions — are still not represented on the website. Unfortunately, the absence of artists from the free online encyclopedia mirrors their underrepresentation in museum collections: a survey of 18 major US museums conducted by researchers at Williams College found that 85.4% of the works in institutional collections belong to white artists, and 87.4% are by men.
When considering that Wikipedia is one of the world’s most visited sites, the impact and importance of Art+Feminisn’s edit-a-thons comes into full view. Since 2014, over 18,000 people at 1,260 events worldwide have participated in the edit-a-thons, creating and improving nearly 84,000 articles on Wikipedia and sister pages.
“Today’s event was great and really speaks to our overall mission: Art+Feminism is an intersectional feminist non-profit organization that directly addresses the information gap about gender, feminism, and the arts on the internet,” Kira Wisniewski, the organization’s executive director, told Hyperallergic.
“Our work is centered on building an equitable global community striving to close the gaps in content and editorial representation on Wikipedia, ensuring that the histories of our lives and work are accessible and accurate.”
A complete list of the profiles updates during today’s today’s edit-a-thon can be found below:
Akua Lezli Hope
Aline Réveillaud de Lens
Alix Cléo Roubaud
Angela Davis Johnson
Angela M. Rivers
Anna Russell Jones
Annie E. A. Walker
Carrie Mae Weems
Consuelo Jimenez Underwood
Jen Lee (cartoonist)
Joyce J. Scott
LaToya Ruby Frazier
M. Asli Dukan
Mary A. Bell
Mary Tillman Smith
Pauline Powell Burns
Ruth Clement Bond
Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin
The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
Val Verde, California
Mary Clare Carroll
Wilhelmina McAlpin Godfrey
Yvonne Pickering Carter
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