When Wikimedia Sverige started working with the preparations for the Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest we realized that there was no national database with artworks in Sweden. We decided to do something about it and what came out of this was the project "Open Database of Public Art in Sweden" where we actively contact municipalities all over Sweden and ask them to release their data of artworks.
Right now we are working on a project which aims to create an open database of all public art in Sweden. No such database exists today as the information is held by each municipality and various other governmental entities. These are works of art which, under current conditions, the greater public would never get a chance to experience due to their geographical spread. It is also artwork which is extra vulnerable as it is mainly placed outdoors, is a low priority in the municipal budget and at risk of being moved, sold or mothballed as cities grow and public opinions shift.
Bringing all of this information together into one free and open database, with an open API, would for the first time enable an overview of the public art in Sweden. It is our hope that researchers as well as developers, open data enthusiasts and the municipalities themselves will be able to use the database as a standardised resource to work against. A database like this could also be used to generate lists on Wikipedia with the artworks in the different municipalities that then can be used for the Wiki Loves Public Art photo contest (that is running for the first time this May 2013), or to add a list of artworks by a specific artist to the artist’s biography etc. Contacting municipalities and other state entities has already proven to increase awareness and discussions about open governmental data and the uses thereof.
The data would also be integrated into Wikipedia.
We have now created a database structure, set up an open API, contacted many municipalities and added their data into the database and participated in a few hackathons to prepare some cool tools that could use the data in a nice way. We hope that these experiences can be used by any other chapter that would like to create a similar database for their country.
Some of the documentation is in Swedish but the documentation for the API (in English) can be found here.
Statistics for contacted municipalities
Replied w. data
Data imported into database
The coloured bars shows the percentage of the 290 municipalities.
21 municipalities have also informed us that they have no data at all. Additionally we have received, and included, data from Public Art Agency Sweden.
For a detailed list of contacted municipalities see kontaktade kommuner (Swedish).