Ask someone to name five artists and responses will likely include names such as Warhol, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci—all male artists. Ask someone to name five women artists, and the question poses more of a challenge. The truth is that women have never been treated equally in the art world, and today they remain dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in museums, galleries, and auction houses. This imbalance goes well beyond the art world, of course. But art plays a vital role in exploring issues of gender in society.
During Women’s History Month, the #5WomenArtists campaign invites museums, cultural organizations, and individual art lovers to share information on social media about women artists. The campaign inspires a discussion on gender inequity in the presentation of art both in the United States and internationally and reflects new ways museums are interacting with audiences and building engagement through social media. This year, the museum is asking social media users to place a special emphasis on sharing the stories of women artists of color who often face double discrimination based on both race and gender.
Over the past two years, we have been overwhelmed with support from the global museum community. In March 2016, 370 organizations from 20 countries created 2,233 Instagram posts and used the hashtag 23,239 times on Twitter. In March 2017, 520 organizations from 30 countries created 4,538 Instagram posts and used the hashtag 17,804 times on Twitter, and we were thrilled to win a 2017 AAM MUSE award for the campaign.
We invite you to join us in continuing the campaign to increase gender parity in the arts in March 2018 by using #5WomenArtists to share important contributions by women in your collections or exhibitions. While we welcome you to highlight any (and as many) women artists as you would like, we’re also encouraging partnering institutions to share works by women artists of color—as a special emphasis for the month.
What type of content can partnering organizations share and add #5WomenArtists?
- Artwork by women in their museum’s collection
- Exhibition information (past, present, and future)
- Women’s influence on the design, architecture or landscape architecture of the institution
- Articles about women artists or gender imbalance in the arts
- Programs they are hosting related to Women’s History Month or the #5WomenArtists campaign
- Women artists in their own communities
Each year we’ve been honored when organizations have gone above and beyond to incorporate #5WomenArtists into their on-site programs, blog series, and exhibitions. And, while our institution’s social media channels focus mainly on visual artists, the campaign has expanded to highlight phenomenal figures from a variety of disciplines. We have seen posts about architects, musicians, and other important women in history. Last year, #5WomenArtists inspired other social media hashtags including #5WomenScientists, #5WomenArchitects, and #5ArtistasMujeres.
It’s easy to participate in #5WomenArtists, and we encourage you to contribute as much as you’d like! We understand that everyone’s time is limited and the content you distribute on your channels is carefully curated—so even if you just add the hashtag to content you would already be sharing about women artists, we appreciate it. Alternatively, NMWA’s social media channels create shareable content during the month of March. Feel free to repost the content that we distribute.
Join us this Women’s History Month! Through #5WomenArtists, NMWA aims to help the public answer—without hesitation—“Can you name five women artists?”
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have regarding how your museum can participate.
NMWA Social Media Handles
About the National Museum of Women in the Arts
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs, and online content, the museum seeks to inspire dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement, and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today.
About the Author
Stacy Meteer is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Prior to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Stacy held communications and marketing positions at American University and the National Building Museum, and graduated with a master’s degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University.