Announcing Martha’s SWAN Day Song Contest!

Martha Richards

Martha Richards’ birthday is Dec. 14. Donate to WomenArts to celebrate!

I am happy to report that as part of my birthday celebration this year, I have decided to create a Support Women Artists Now Day Song Contest.  I am making a gift of $1,500 to WomenArts today to create cash prizes for songs that celebrate the diversity and power of women’s creativity.

[Update: Thanks to the generosity of two other donors, we have added another $500 to the prize money.  We are now offering a first prize of $1,000, a second prize of $500, and 2 third prizes of $250.]

This contest is my personal tribute to the “women’s music” concerts in the 1970s that had such a profound impact on me at the beginning of my career.

I still remember the exhilaration of those performances.  It was thrilling to hear music that so perfectly embodied the spirit of the women’s movement at that time. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of women would gather to listen to songs that expressed the thoughts and feelings of our newly liberated selves. Singing those songs together filled us with courage and hope.

As a young woman, that music and the way that we experienced it as a community made an indelible impression on me that has echoed through my work for the past 40 years. I wanted to work in the arts because I wanted to share that deep sense of affirmation that I felt when I saw those performers who seemed to be talking so directly to me.

In our new political climate, I am longing for that kind of community and affirmation again. In an era of fake news, I am hungry for art that tells the truth – art that will step outside the endless chatter of mainstream media and speak to our deepest hopes and dreams.

Although we are facing many challenges, we must continue to use our art to imagine and create the world we want.  It is my birthday wish that this contest and all of the Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN celebrations this year will encourage you to do that.

Martha Richards, Executive Director, WomenArts


Content:  We are looking for songs that address one or more of the key qualities of Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day:

  • SWAN Day unites women around the world.
  • SWAN Day celebrates the diversity of women’s creativity and builds cultural bridges.
  • SWAN Day helps women artists build support networks that sustain them all year.
  • SWAN Day teaches women artists that they have tremendous power when they work together and help each other.

Style:  We want songs that people can learn fairly quickly and sing together.  If the song is not in English, please submit a translation of the lyrics and at least one verse in English.

Submission Process:  Please upload your song to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, your website, or some other online location, and then send us the link using our SWAN Song Submission Form. You may submit a maximum of 3 songs.  Please use a different submission form for each song. (Note: The 2017 deadline has passed and the form has been deactivated.)

Deadline:  Please submit your song by February 20, 2017.  We will make the selections during the final week of February so that we can share them with SWAN organizers throughout March for the 10th Anniversary of SWAN Day. 

Prizes:  We will award 4 prizes – one for $1,000, one for $500, and two for $250.

Questions:  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Donate:  If you are interested in donating funds so that we can offer more or bigger SWAN Song prizes, you can mail a check to: WomenArts, 1442A Walnut Street, Suite 67, Berkeley, CA 94709 or you can donate online here>>

Be A Judge:  If you would like to volunteer to be one of the judges, please write to us by January 12 and describe your qualifications.


For the 10th Anniversary of SWAN Day, we would love to have SWAN contests in poetry, dance, and other art forms.  It would also be great to have some local SWAN contests at schools or other venues.  If you can provide or raise the prize funds, we will be happy to work with you. Please write to us and let us know what you would like to do.