On Wednesday, I started a Wikipedia page for Morgantown-born artist Erin Castellan, who now works out of Asheville, North Carolina, and has her fabric work in several notable museums and private collections. Her work is included in the current exhibit, FABRICation, of seven artists who work with textiles, at The Art Museum of WVU, thru Sunday. In fact, though all have significant backgrounds, none of the seven artists included in the show, all women, are on Wikipedia.

This isn’t irregular, unfortunately, for women represented on Wikipedia; according to Kelly Doyle, West Virginia University Library’s Wikipedian-in-residence focused on gender equality, Wikipedia editors are about 10% female and the gender discrepancy of feature articles follows the same imbalanced suit for women.

So, Doyle came together with the Art Museum of WVU and Arts Monongahela to organize the Art + Feminism Wikipedia-thon, inviting students, faculty and community members in to work to counter this imbalance on Wednesday. Art + Feminism is a national organization working specifically to add and edit articles on artists who are women. Each March since 2014, organizations, libraries, museums and academic institutions host such events at 280+ events across six continents, creating and improving thousands of Wikipedia pages for artists like Tina Charlie, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ana Mendieta, Augusta Savage, and Frances Stark. In Morgantown, we focused on artists from the Appalachia and/or included in the Museum collection, including editing the pages of Virginia B. Evans, Jane Burch Cochran, Amanda Phelan and Sarah Sze; and creating pages for Stefanie Jackson and Erin Castellan.

“inexclusive 2” = IN.EXclusive: an exhibit celebrating West Virginia women, at Arts Monongahela thru March 25, includes art by Bridget Stamp (Morgantown, sculpture), Carter Taylor Seaton (Huntington, sculpture), Elissa Greathouse (Chester, mixed media), Caroline Jennings (Greenfield, hand-made paper prints), Cheryl Harshman (Wheeling, clay monoprints) and Betsy Cox (Glen Dale, ceramics).

The event was part of a series of events celebrating Women’s History Month by area organizations, including Arts Monongahela’s IN.EXclusive exhibit and series of events dedicated to women in West Virginia’s past and present. This weekend, Arts Mon hosts Women on Fire, an evening of monologues directed by Vickie Trickett, starting Saturday at 7pm and free to the public.

The following weekend, March 24, will be an evening of dance and poetry, featuring poets Kayla Sargeon and Lori Wilson with dances choreographed by Kathleen Sweat and Maureen Mansfield Kaddar. The event starts at 7pm and is free to the public. Saturday, March 25, Sargeson hosts a writing workshop from 10am-noon that is $20; those interested can call 304-292-0501.


In the afternoon on Saturday, March 25, there are several presentations and performances celebrating women from West Virginia, the schedule is as follows; all events at Arts Mon, 201 High Street, and FREE to the public!

1–1:30pm: Inspire West Virginia Presentation with Abby Wallace, Anna Creel, and Georgia Beatty, Inspired Leaders from Weir High School

1:30–2pm: West Virginia Women Work Presentation

2–3pm: Woodburn Female Seminary Women, presentation by Frances Van Scoy

3–4pm: Forging a Career as a Modern Artist in WV: The Life and Work of Grace Martin Taylor, presentation by WVU professor of art history, Kristina Olson

4–5pm: When Sisters Were Soldiers, an original one-woman historic narrative by Judi Tarowsky

Visitors will also get to view the exhibit IN.EXclusive, featuring work by six West Virginia artists who are women, inspired by West Virginia women past and present. Artists include: Bridget Stamp (Morgantown, sculpture), Carter Taylor Seaton (Huntington, sculpture), Elissa Greathouse (Chester, mixed media), Caroline Jennings (Greenfield, hand-made paper prints), Cheryl Harshman (Wheeling, clay monoprints) and Betsy Cox (Glen Dale, ceramics).

“Wikipediathon,” = Attendees of Art + Feminism Wikipediathon at The Art Museum of WVU, March 15, 2017.

In addition to the artwork, IN.Exclusive features a unique installation design and interactive elements that recognize the influential presence of women throughout West Virginia’s history. The design of the exhibit plays on the vintage decorative elements of the gallery itself—it suggests the look of a male-dominated space, but uses symbols of womanhood to subvert the exclusivity of a historically masculine setting.

The exhibit also includes an interactive online tour of women in West Virginia history, designed by co-curator Eliza Newland and two West Virginia University history graduate students, Lacey Bonar and Karleen Kovalcik.

Along with these events and exhibit at Arts Mon, The Diamond Shop hosts the exhibit BARED, featuring work by 15 national artists who are women on breasts and bras, thru March 24, at 320 High Street; and Monongalia Arts Center hosts Rebel Rebel: Blurring Gender Lines, a group exhibit of work by area artists examining gender – at 120 High Street – all in celebration of Women’s History Month.

So, as we worked hard via Wikipedia to counter the gender imbalance online, these area events work outside the digital world to counter the imbalance of art exhibits…come join, celebrate and make a difference by supporting these events and artists!

Sally Deskins is an artist, curator and writer based in Morgantown. She is the Exhibits and Program Coordinator for West Virginia University Libraries, and editor of Les Femmes Folles, a journal supporting women in art.

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