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 V.26 No.10 | March 9 - 15, 2017 

Culture Shock

Art+Feminism+ABQ

Art-centric edit-a-thon has its first local run

Art+Feminism+ABQ
Nancy Zastudil

In a Wikimedia survey from 2011, researchers found that less than 13 percent of Wikipedia—the online, open source encyclopedia—contributors are women. The effect of this is that the information, which millions of people access on a daily basis, is skewed. Historically male interests are heavily represented, replete with links to other avenues of culture and significance, while entries that relate to women and women's issues are bare-bones. In order to combat this hegemonic knowledge sharing, Wikipedia edit-a-thons have become more and more popular, and four years ago saw the first annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon designed to specifically address the gender gap, as it relates to women-identifying artists. Art+Feminism edit-a-thons take place all around the country—and even internationally—in March, and this year will see Albuquerque's first local version of the event, to be held at Central Features Contemporary and Richard Levy Galleries on Saturday, March 11, between 11am and 4pm, thanks to organizers Nancy Zastudil and Viviette Hunt.

The localized version of the event will emphasize creating entries for local female-identifying artists and editing or augmenting existing entries as needed. “It's really to promote Albuquerque,” Zastudil explained from her desk at Central Features, overlooking Central. “I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to promote Albuquerque artists to a broader audience and how to get their work in front of curators, museum directors, other artists, collectors … as well as a broader network. There are limited ways that can be done without spending tons of money. This is one way to do that.” Zastudil has her own list of artists she plans to create entries for on the day of the event, and many of the event's partners do, too. Those interested in attending are welcome to go armed with their own shortlist of artists who deserve an entry, but are just as welcome to cozy up with the existing lists. The idea is to make the event easy for participants and to illuminate just how easy it is to advocate for local artists.

To that end, a slew of online tutorials guiding contributors through the editing process will be available on the Facebook event page well ahead of the edit-a-thon, and orientations are happening on-site at both 11am and 1pm, though Zastudil stressed that you don't need to be present for an official orientation to get involved. Participants are free to stop in for 20 minutes, or stay comfortably for the whole day. “It really is about creating a safe space. There's a lot of guidelines on creating a safe space for the event, to avoid intimidation, so people are free to ask questions. It really is a collaborative learning environment.” She's quick to point out how empowering it can be to contribute to the accuracy of the vast database, and increasing the visibility of female artists in its digital pages. At the end of the day, armed with the knowledge of how to contribute, edit and alter the annals of one of the most used online resources, you as an individual have an amplified voice and can use it to contribute to a body of work that transmits truths across the internet.

Throughout the day, coffee graciously donated by Zendo and a bevy of snacks will sustain writers as they chip away at the patriarchy, simultaneously boosting our city's clout. “I think that New Mexico ends up on the lower portion of many lists … and if that's all you're paying attention to it can be a little bit depressing, especially when there are so many incredible people and activities and organizations here in Albuquerque. I'm hoping that by choosing one sector—female artists—by spending a day focusing on bringing more visibility to them, that that will excite people and reinforce the excitement and pride they have for Albuquerque already,” Zastudil explained.

“At the end of the day, we want people to feel empowered,” she continued. “Hopefully being armed with that knowledge and experience of doing it once, they can go back to daily life and have it as a tool in their arsenal of ways to advocate for artists.” One might just as well add that with their new skills, participants can advocate not just for artists, but nearly any community currently underrepresented on Wikipedia. For Zastudil, her new skills won't be put into action on just one day of the year. “I know for me it will be ongoing,” she added succinctly, and the same may be true for you. Pack your laptop and head Downtown on March 11, where the first 50 attendees will receive a free tote with the New Mexican take on Art+Feminism logo (approved by Zia Pueblo). Between 10am and 4pm, parking will be offered for free at Park-It-Place, so it's all the easier to make the presence of female-identifying artists online all the more encyclopedic.

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