Wiki Loves Public Art 2014 postponed

The team working on the international contest has taken the decision to postpone the Wiki Loves Public Art contest for 2014 and review the possibility of hosting it again next year. We have reached this conclusion as there are a number of issues that need to be solved for the contest to make sense, each of them a potential show stopper. The issues are:

  1. Legal issues.

  2. Lack of strong international partners/sponsors.

  3. Technical issues.

John Andersson, on behalf of the international team

The Wiki Loves Public Art contest starts again in May 2014!

Paparazzi_In_Bratislava, Photo: DMY via Wikimedia Commons, License: Attribution

Paparazzi_In_Bratislava, Photo: DMY via Wikimedia Commons, License: Attribution

Wiki Loves Public Art is an international photo contest focusing on artworks that are publicly accessible. The contest is organized in several countries for the second time in 2014 by the Wikimedia movement. Wikimedia is the movement behind a number of other great free, multilingual projects such as Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that everybody can contribute to.

Art plays a central role in all societies and cultures and is an integrated part of what makes us human. To better understand art is to better understand ourselves and through this contest Wikimedia invites you to take pictures of the public artworks that are part of your life!

Art is to a large extent something you experience visually and hence pictures can make our encyclopedic articles much more valuable. We invite all of you to grab your camera and head out to experience and share the fantastic (not forgetting the not so fantastic) public artworks that are all around you! Many of the pictures will be used in Wikipedia’s articles and thousands, in some cases millions, of people will then see and appreciate your photos.

Each of the national contests will be able to nominate 10 of their best pictures for the international contest. These nominated pictures will be judged by the international jury, which will award prizes to the best images.

We welcome all types of support for the contest: from uploading a single image to spreading the word about the contest as well as becoming a partner or sponsor.

The International Winners of Wiki Loves Public Art 2013

The international jury is happy to announce the winning photos of Wiki Loves Public Art 2013. All in all, more than 9,250 images were uploaded as part of the contest by 225 uploaders, of which 57 percent were first time contributors. All five participating countries had the opportunity to nominate 10 photos to the international contest. The international jury consists of Arild Vågen (Sweden), (Anav Sonara) (India), Ingrida Vosyliūtė (Lithuania) and Michael Kramer (Germany).

The jury chose to use Wikimedia Commons as the platform for the jury’s work and we created a jury page there. The work was carried out in three stages. In the first round each member of the jury had the opportunity to nominate images to the second and third round. The five images that received 3 or more votes in round 1 went directly to the final. The second round included all the images that received two votes in the first round and each jury member had 5 votes. The third and final round included 5 images from round 1 and 4 images from round 2. From the nine images in the final, we chose three winners.

Ricardo Bofill (Ricard Bofill Leví), Les quatre barres de la senyera catalana 8 DSC09517.jpg Foto: Coldcreation Licens: CC BY-SA 3.0 ES

We awarded the first prize to Coldcreation‘s images of Ricardo Bofill´s artwork Les quatre barres de la senyera catalana, in Barcelona, Spain. Comment from the jury: Simple and bright, well balanced, good composition, lighting, catches the spirit of Barcelona.

Aino Fountain by artist Emil Wikström in Lahti, Finland. Photo: Kartanofoto

We awarded the second prize to Kartanofoto’s images of Emil Wikström’s fountain Aino, in Lahti, Finland. Comment from the jury: Vivid and vibrant photo, nice dominance of green color (background, reflections in the water, statues).

File:PikiWiki Israel 32088 Beating Heart.jpg Foto: Gila Brand Licens: CC BY 2.5

We awarded the third prize to Gila Brand’s images of Yaacov Agam’s sculpture A Beating Heart, in Jerusalem, Israel. Comment from the jury: Strong, expressive and charming photo, well chosen camera angle and focus, emphasis on the most significant details.

The full results of WLPA are Results available here.

Arild Vågen, coordinator of the international jury for WLPA 2013.

A short update on Wiki Loves Public Art

Participating countries 2013

Participating countries 2013

I just wanted to give you all a short update about how Wiki Loves Public Art turned out this first year. As you might know it was five countries that participated, but with the exception of Israel, the focus was on only one or a few of the major cities in the countries. This was because the lack of national databases of public works of art. So we looked at this year as a tryout to set things in order, and as it turned out we are very happy with the results! After the contest nearly 75 percent of all the works of art that we had listed was photographed! All in all more than 9,250 images were uploaded as part of the contest by 225 uploaders, of which 57% percent were first time contributors.

In Sweden, where we for different reasons focused on working with museums and photograph their public domain art collections, we had nine museums taking part and we organized five meetups/photo safaris where a lot of newbies showed up. Many of them did not upload their images in time for the contest but still appreciated the opportunity to come and talk to us about Wikimedia’s different projects.

The juries in each country is now in the process of selecting the winning pictures. These finalists are then further submitted for consideration by the jury of the international competition. Once the winners have been selected we will return with another update.

All in all we have had a lot of fun and are very happy with the results of what is hopefully the first of many years of Wiki Loves Public Art.

John Andersson
International Coordinator Wiki Loves Public Art
Wikimedia Sverige

Today is your last chance to take part in Wiki Loves Public Art 2013

Today we hope to see many of you uploading your art photos from your cameras to Wikimedia Commons as it is the last day of Wiki Loves Public Art 2013! There are no space limitations on Commons, so go ahead and upload all the photos you got to increase your chances of winning, but also to make sure that the contest is as successful as it can be, so that we will be able to do this again next year in even more countries!

Here’s how you can participate in your country:

We have had a great final spurt in Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest in the last days, and yesterday we had the most new users joining the contest! Take a look at some more cool statistics as well as all the fantastic photos of over 2000 artworks that have been uploaded for the contest so far.

Happy uploading!

John Andersson

Wikimedia Sverige

International coordinator of WLPA


How Wikimedia Sverige came to build an Open Database of Public Art in Sweden

Statue of Gustav II Adolph in Stockholm

Statue of Gustav II Adolph in Stockholm. Photo by: Lars (Lon) Olsson. License: CC BY-SA.

When we first looked at organising Wiki Loves Public Art (WLPA) in Sweden, together with Europeana, we figured that it wouldn’t be much different from how we’d run Wiki Loves Monuments in previous years. We would just need to get lists of all public artworks in Sweden and as there is a government agency called The National Public Art Council Sweden (Statens konstråd) so surely all we’d need to do is contact them…

We soon found out that the situation was quite different. Although Statens konstråd does have lists of public artworks it is limited to fairly recent art and only that art which the agency itself has purchased. The vast majority of the artworks are however the responsibility of the individual municipalities along with the agencies and companies charged with the maintenance of public buildings such as train stations. There also isn’t a standardised format for how to record the artworks nor in fact a requirement to record it at all. Fortunately Public Sector Information (PSI) legislation in Sweden is such that we can request this data from each of the public bodies holding the information.

Sjöormsfontänen - Axel Ebbe

Sjöormsfontänen by Axel Ebbe. Photo by: Hedning. License: CC BY-SA.

We could therefore identify a clear need for a centralised source of standardised information if we were going to run Wiki Loves Public Art 2014 the way we had originally envisioned running it in 2013. However the need for, and usefulness of, such a database goes beyond the WLPA contest. Schools could use an open database to identify local art or art elsewhere in Sweden by a local artist. Researcher could use it to look at trends in public art. Reporters could use it as an investigative tool when looking at local government spending. Adjoining municipalities could pool their resources when negotiating services such as restoration and maintenance of artworks. These are however just a few of the usages we quickly thought of. The true benefit of an open database however is that it can be used by anyone for any idea they might have.

After receiving a grant from Sweden’s Innovation Agency (Vinnova) we therefore set out to build a database which could hold all of the information we were going to collect. We also added an API to allow developers easy access to the data and to enable them to build other applications with it. We are also working on connecting the database to Wikipedia (and Wikidata). This is similar to how the lists work in Wiki Loves Monuments in that it gives a natural place for viewing the information and putting it in a larger context. It also allows the information to be further improved; coordinates added, descriptions created, typos fixed. The project has also had the added benefit of making any municipality we contact aware of open data and the PSI legislation. Many of them have communicated that they’ve had internal discussions regarding best practices for handling requests for open data – spreading awareness of the importance of open data within the organisations. Several municipalities were also delighted to find out that there is an interest in the artworks they maintain. They have sometimes used this as an opportunity to update their own records or has expressed an interest in sharing the user generated information which will be added to the artworks. By the time the preparations for Wiki Loves Public Art 2014 get started we expect to have a decent proportion of all public art in Sweden in the database. The generated lists should be able to serve our needs as a basis for the competition.

So if your country is in a similar situation where the relevant information is fragmented between many parties then perhaps this is the solution also for you. All code developed for this project is open sourced, making your life much easier. So the main thing you would need are volunteers to request the information and to then pre-process it into a usable form (don’t underestimate the time needed for either of these two steps!). You might even be able to find external funding for a similar project in your country! Of course we’d be happy to share the lessons we have learnt, so if you are interested just get in touch!

André Costa
GLAM-technician / Developer, Wikimedia Sverige

For more information and updates see the project page on our wiki.

Municipalities of Sweden coloured based on their status in the Database

Municipalities of Sweden coloured based on their status in the Database. See image page for key. Image by: Lokal_Profil. License: CC BY-SA.

A quick glimpse of some of the database features:

From an early point we knew that we needed a way of clearly marking which content came from an official source and which had been user generated. The solution was to build the database in two layers giving you three choices in how to view the information:

  1. Strict view, with official information only;
  2. Normal view which makes no distinction between user generated and official information;
  3. Enhanced view which is similar to the Strict view but displays user generated information for the fields where official data is missing.

Combined with this is a mechanism which exports all of the changes to the official information from a given source. This allows an interested municipality to import some, or all, of the corrections or enhanced information. If these are then incorporated by them the changes are upgraded to official status.

The database is also designed to keep a record of the copyright status of the artwork as well as whether it is in- or outdoors. The result of this is that we can build lists which detect whether images of the artwork are allowed on Wikimedia Commons and also whether these should be marked with a Freedom of Panorama template. Just what we need for running Wiki Loves Public Art in 2014!

Halfway through Wiki Loves Public Art and nearly 5,000 pictures!

A Japanese netsuke sculpture, Sweden. Photo: Catasa. LIcense: CC-BY-SA.

The Wiki Loves Public Art contest is well on its way and after the first 15 days of the contest we are about to pass 5,000 pictures of public artworks today! You can see all the photos of all the great art in Wikimedia Commons

By far the most uploads are from Barcelona, with over a whopping 4,000 pictures! The streets of Barcelona really are filled with art and we are definitely getting a great amount of them documented. The second most pictures for the contest come from Austria, with over 800 images uploaded so far.

The statue Pax (1893) by Walter Runeberg, Finland. Photo: Katriniinikangas. License: CC-BY-SA.

The other countries also have a lot of great artworks to photograph and we need your help!

Check out how to take part in your local contest here:

Alter Mann

The statue “Alter Mann”, Austria. Photo: HeinzLW. LIcense: CC-BY-SA.

Now that we enter the second half of the contest (ending at the 31st of May), it is time for you to go out or to a museum and take pictures and contribute to free knowledge. You might win great prices while doing so! The best pictures from the local contests will also be sent to the international contest where you can win a travel gift certificate of up to 500 euros. On top of this you will have helped open education projects such as Wikipedia, where your pictures can be seen by (hundreds of) thousands of people!
John Andersson, international coordinator

Wiki Loves Public Art with a focus on museums in Sweden

Lucas Cranach the Elder’s oil painting at the Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Bengt Oberger via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC-BY-SA.

In Sweden we are doing something different compared to the other countries as this year the WLPA photo contest focuses on older artworks in some of the most important art museums in the country.

We have viewed the contest as a great chance for Wikimedia Sverige and the Swedish museums to establish long lasting relationships, which both parts can benefit from. Wikimedia has for this photo competition created a strong cooperation with the museums and to make it easier for the participants, special lists are made in the museums to clarify which artworks can be photographed. In total nine art museums are participating, spread out in four cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Norrköping and Lund.

In Stockholm and Gothenburg there will also be events organized at the museums such as photo safaris and Wiki-meetings to make it more of a social experience. These events are taking place during the entire month and we hope there will be many people showing up and taking the chance to compete and also learn more about the public artworks in the Swedish museums.

Also the museums view this as a good way to reach out to people and many of the museums therefore let the contest participants enter the museums for free and some of them also use the contest in their own online marketing and by doing so show how progressive they are.

To inform the public about the event Wikimedia Sverige has sent out a press release to all relevant newspapers in Sweden. Contacts have also been initiated with photo communities, with photo clubs, and with art, photo and design schools. All with the ambition to reach people who we think would be interested in the photo competition.

A Facebook event has also been created where participants are asked to sign up and to help us find more volunteers, willing to grab the camera and make some fantastic photos.

Amazing start to Wiki Loves Public Art with over 1,000 pictures in two days

The Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest started a little over two days ago and we have had an incredible start! There are now already close to 1,300 photos uploaded, something we were not expecting to receive in these short two and a half days!

The vast majority of pictures that have so far been submitted to the contest are from Barcelona but there are also plenty of pictures from Austria and a few from Israel and Finland. Here you can go see all the pictures of the public art that we love.

We will keep you updated on the progress of the contest in this blog and hope to see many of you taking part and uploading pictures of your favorite public art now during the contest in May!

Keep up the good work!


John Andersson

Today is the day!

I hope you all are enjoying spring and the 1st of May! Today is the day when Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest starts! So grab your camera and go out or to a museum to take some beautiful pictures of the great artworks around us.

We are arranging Wiki Loves Public Art in five countries this year so please have a look at their pages below to find more information on how to participate.

Perhaps you have some old photos on your hard drive that you could upload or perhaps you are travelling and would like to experience the art and also contribute to free knowledge while taking holiday photos? We have created lists that will guide you to the artworks around you!  You can find links to them on the websites above.

Best of luck!

John Andersson
WLPA’s International coordinator