The Black Lunch Table Helps Give Exposure to Black Artists Through Wikipedia

Heather Hart assists a volunteer during the Black Lunch Table's Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at Project Row Houses in Dallas, TX, in 2016

Heather Hart assists a volunteer during the Black Lunch Table’s Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at Project Row Houses in Dallas, TX, in 2016

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about an artist, chances are a Google search led you to their biography on Wikipedia. What happens if the artist you wanted to learn about isn’t on Wikipedia? Who is and isn’t on Wikipedia has more to do with gender and race than one might think. With this in mind, Heather Hart and Jina Valentine—working collectively as the Black Lunch Table—have launched an initiative through their practice to help black artists get on Wikipedia and fill in more of the details of their pages. It’s a seminal step in helping art history become more inclusive. On Feb 27, Creative Capital is hosting a Black Lunch Table Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. You can RSVP here! We asked Heather some questions about the practice before the event.

Alex Teplitzky: Tell me about the Wikipedia edit-a-thons you’ve been hosting. What a great idea to help get artists online recognition!

Heather Hart: Yes! When Jina and I were in school, there was very little coverage of visual artists of the African Diaspora, especially notable contemporary people. Whether we like it or not, Wikipedia is used by 374 million unique visitors every month, more than your average encyclopedia has ever had. So this was a perfect fit for our over all Black Lunch Table project. We have the power to create a discursive site to fill gaps in the (art) historical record.

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5 Quick Tips to Achieve Wikipedia Recognition

researchers-reveal-the-worlds-most-controversial-wikipedia-articles

So, you have your artist statement, your website, and you’ve signed up for every social media platform under the sun; but if you see Wikipedia as the final frontier in gaining online recognition for your career, you’re not alone.  In conversations with the artists Creative Capital supports, I have heard from a lot of people who have tried in vain to publish a Wikipedia article. And though the online-based encyclopedia is not without its own complications, it is undoubtedly a way to gain credibility.

In the past few months, I have endeavored to help Creative Capital artists write and publish Wikipedia articles. It’s been a learning process for me and them, and I am by no means an expert on Wikipedia. However, I’ve put together a few quick tips to help you get started!

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