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#5WomenArtists campaign celebrates women using art to make change
Judith Leyster, The Concert, ca. 1633; Oil on canvas, 24 x 34 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay.

WASHINGTON, DC.- More than 675 national and international cultural institutions from six continents and 36 countries participated in the fifth year of the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ award-winning #5WomenArtists social media campaign. NMWA’s year-round goal is to address gender imbalance in the art world, but every March—Women’s History Month—the museum has the opportunity to capture the attention of a wider audience to help celebrate women artists.

The campaign challenges cultural organizations and individual social media users to answer the question “Can you name five women artists?” It aims to help increase awareness of gender inequality in the art world.

Using the hashtag #5WomenArtists, NMWA launched the campaign March 1 on its website and blog as well as on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The museum invited cultural organizations and individuals to share information about women artists on social media throughout the month. This year, there was a special focus on activism, highlighting women artists using their practices to tackle socially relevant issues, such as gender equity, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice and climate change.

“People all over the world are dealing with uncertainty on so many levels, but art is still providing a much-needed outlet for engagement, education, enjoyment and action,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “I am glad that this campaign has once again offered so many the ability to connect with the work of women artists around the globe.”

The campaign’s aim is twofold: to call attention to the fact that women artists remain underrepresented and undervalued in the art world; and to highlight and celebrate the work of women artists, historical and contemporary.

In addition to more than 675 cultural institutions, more than 5,100 individuals joined the campaign to promote women artists, garnering more than 4,000 Instagram posts and nearly 10,000 tweets. This worldwide initiative welcomed participating organizations from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Egypt, France, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

NMWA shared information about women artists, including biographies, quotes and infographics tagged with #5WomenArtists, and asked other organizations to join them in highlighting work by women in their collections and exhibitions. Among the numerous participating institutions were the American Folk Art Museum, New York; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; British Museum, London; Cleveland Museum of Art; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Museu de Arte Sacra, São Paulo; Museum of African Contemporary Art, Al Maaden; Museum of Art and Photography, Bangalore; IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.

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