Our team was inspired by the fact that 51% of visual artists are women, yet less than 5% of female artists are represented in permanent collections. This represents a disconnect that will not change unless people like us take action. We want to educate Washington’s visitors and local community on women’s contributions to arts and culture in an attempt to close this gap. Our market is growing, as 20 million visitors arrive to Washington, DC annually. We believe that these visitors will be interested in searching out institutions that prominently feature female artists, if the information is easily available. In turn, this demand will generate more pressure for galleries to increase female representation in their permanent collections.

What it does

Primarily, Motif makes it easy for users to find exhibits that feature women artists. Additionally, the application makes it simple for users to find cultural institutions off the beaten path, which are called hidden gems. Once the user decides which gallery or museum they are interested in, the application presents curated information detailing specific women artists that are currently on exhibit at the user’s location.

How we built it

The first thing our team decided was that we wanted to invest time up front to accurately identify scope, process, and individual roles. We extensively discussed team members strengths and weaknesses, and used this information to design a process that allowed us to contribute while also learning about areas of application development that interested us. We worked together to set a reasonable scope, wireframed the application to ensure clarity, and researched innovative ways of correcting the issues that we encountered.

Challenges we ran into

Our group hit a few road bumps along the way, including a bit of scope creep and some unfamiliarity with a coding application that we were relying on. React Native turned out to be less intuitive than we initially assumed, but through the dedication and hard work of our team, we compensated for our inexperience. Finally, much of the data that we thought would be available to the public does not exist online. Instead of using an API to generate the information we need, we had to hand curiate the information that we are presenting through our application.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our group is very proud that we identified a social need, and worked to create a solution. As a society that is working towards gender equality, we believe that more data transparency by museums is needed for the public to determine the ratio of permanent collections pieces created by male versus female artists. Our team believes that women’s contributions to the arts is a powerful way to inspire others visiting Washington, DC for the first time.

What we learned

The concept of Motif was foreign in many ways to our group. Four of our five team members had never participated in a hackathon before, three of our members had no prior experience in art, and two had never coded before this event. This situation presented a learning opportunity, and allowed for significant growth from all of our group members. Specifically, some of the non technical teammates had the opportunity to use React Native, Photoshop, and Illustrator, while more technical team members learned advanced coding techniques that will surely help progress their careers.

What's next for Motif

Our group is interested in publishing Motif in order to make it available to the public. Furthermore, we would like to work with museums and galleries to generate and maintain a public database that could be used in conjunction with an API to constantly push updates in real time. In addition to providing valuable real time data to Motif, this database could be used to identify any progress or regression on gender equality issues within the world of art.

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