Ottawa galleries host Wikipedia edit-a-thons for International Women's Day

Two art galleries in Ottawa will take on the Wikipedia gender gap with edit-a-thons on International Women's Day.

Carleton University Art Gallery and Ottawa Art Gallery both to host editing events Tuesday

Carolyn Jack tweeted this photo from last year's Art + Feminism edit-a-thon in Vancouver. This month, the organization will hold its third annual edit-a-thon, and people all over the world will meet up to increase coverage of women in the arts on Wikipedia. (Twitter/@CeeVanArt)

Canadian painter Paraskeva Clark was a politically-charged artist who participated in the inaugural exhibition of the Canadian Group of Painters, but her Wikipedia page offers few other details about her life and career.

It doesn't even include a photo — something a group of Ottawa artists hopes to change on International Women's Day.

"What you find there is actually an image not even of her husband but of her husband's friend," Ottawa Art Gallery curator Michelle Gewurtz said Monday on CBC Ottawa's All In A Day.

The Wikipedia page for Canadian painter Paraskeva Clark does not include her photo. Instead, it includes a photo of her husband's friend. A group of Ottawa artists plan to update her page on International Women's Day 2016. (Wikipedia)

"So if you're talking about the level of representation, for a quick look, it gives you a really kind of skewed image of who Paraskeva Clark was and what her life and career were about."

Gewurtz is hosting an edit-a-thon at the Ottawa Art Gallery to tackle the "gender gap" on Wikipedia, along with the Carleton University Art Gallery, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Surveys done by the Wikimedia Foundation suggest women make up only 10 to 20 per cent of editors. The Ottawa galleries are building on a New York campaign called Art + Feminism that sprung up to address the lack of participation of women on Wikipedia.

Each gallery will provide tutorials and reference materials, and encourages people of all gender identities to bring a laptop and ideas for entries to participate.

Gewurtz said her background is gender issues and diversity issues in historical and contemporary art.

"It was definitely something that I personally wanted the gallery to be a part of," she said. "The hope is that people will ... once they start learning the skills they might take it upon themselves on their own time to continue this kind of work."

With files from All In A Day