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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday May 20, 2013

Updated on Wednesday May 23, 2018

Wiki Loves Public Art contest halfway

We are now halfway through the Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest, which runs throughout May 2013.
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Volunteers in Austria, Finland, Israel, Spain and Sweden have taken over 5,000 pictures of a total of 1,385 public artworks! All of these photos are uploaded under a free licence, so that they can be used, for example, in online projects such as Wikipedia.

The goal of the Wiki Loves Public Art (WLPA) contest is to get as many pictures of public art as possible available under a free licence on Wikipedia's online database, Wikimedia Commons. The 5,000 photos uploaded so far can then be seen and used by anyone, anywhere. At the same time, the world's sixth largest website, Wikipedia, will see a boost in its art coverage as photos in the contest can be added to illustrate articles in the online encyclopedia. The contest is organized by Wikimedia Sverige, Europeana and volunteers in the Wikimedia chapters and affiliated groups in each of the participating countries.

'Paparazzi statue in Bratislava', photograph by DMY, CC-BY.

'We are doing this to increase our common collection of photos of artworks and to make them easily accessible to everyone through Wikipedia. This is also a fun way to start contributing for volunteers', says the international WLPA coordinator, John Andersson.

The contest has been challenging to organise because most countries lack a national database of their artworks. In addition, the countries participating in the contest have a diverse set of copyright laws, which means that the public artworks that can be photographed and uploaded online for the contest differ between countries. For example, in Finland the contest focuses on outdoor sculptures made by artists who have been dead for 70 years or more. In Spain and Austria, on the other hand ,any public artwork can be photographed.

'This has also made a difference in the amount of artworks photographed in different local contests. From Barcelona we have over 4,000 pictures, whereas from countries with stricter copyright laws we understandably have fewer contributions', states John Andersson.

To make it easier for people to find the artworks suited for the contest, volunteers in national Wikimedia chapters have put together lists on Wikipedia with information about the outdoor artworks. In some countries, the focus has however been on working with the national art museums so that people can go and take photos of the museums' collections that are suitable for the contest.

The photos uploaded for the contest will first be judged nationally, and the ten best pictures from each country will be sent to the international jury. The prizes for the three internationally best pictures – which will be announced in July – are travel gift certificates for 500 euros, 300 euros and 200 euros and on top of that Europeana has sponsored high quality prints of the winning pictures that will be sent to the winners.

For more information, go to or contact John Andersson, Wikimedia Sverige, by phone: +46 (0)733965189 or email John Andersson

Europeana brings together the digitised content of Europe's galleries, libraries, museums, archives and audiovisual collections. Currently, Europeana gives integrated access to 26 million books, films, paintings, museum objects and archival documents from some 2,200 content providers. The content is drawn from every European member state and the interface is in 29 European languages. Europeana receives its main funding from the European Commission. See also Europeana's website at Contact person for Europeana regarding the WLPA contest is Geer Oskam.

Wikimedia is the movement behind Wikipedia, supporting the same goals of realising a world where all knowledge is freely available for every human being. This is possible through the US-based Wikimedia Foundation and a network of national associations called chapters which co-operate closely with the volunteers on the Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia.

Wikipedia and the related sites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 500 million unique visitors per month, making them the 6th most popular web property worldwide. Available in more than 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 23 million articles contributed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

Wiki Loves Public Art builds on the remarkable success of the annual Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest, which takes place between 1-30 September every year. Last year an incredible 15,000 photographers from 33 countries around the world uploaded more than 350,000 photos during Wiki Loves Monuments.