SWAN Day Overview

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh did a video for the first SWAN Day in 2008.

SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day has been an international initiative designed to showcase the power and diversity of women’s creativity.  Every year since 2008 people around the world have been invited to create events that celebrate women artists during the months of March and April.  The program has had four goals:

  • To shine a spotlight on women artists – especially artists who are often marginalized by mainstream arts and media organizations because of their race, class, sexual preference, gender identity, disability or other issues.
  • To give women artists opportunities to practice and improve their skills at marketing, budgeting, fundraising, and other skills that they need as producers of arts events.
  • To help women artists build support networks for themselves by working with other artists in their communities to produce events featuring women artists.
  • To encourage women audience members to support women artists by using their power as feminist arts consumers.
  • To have fun!

International Support Women Artists Now Day was co-founded in 2007 by Martha Richards, the Executive Director of WomenArts, and Jan Lisa Huttner, the Editor-in-Chief of FF2Media.com and founder of WITASWAN (Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now).  Please visit our history of SWAN Day page for more information about the origins of this event.

SWAN Day is officially held on the last Saturday of March, but since the spirit of the event is more important than the exact date, it is usually celebrated throughout March and April.  The first SWAN Day was held in March 2008, and there have been over 2,000 SWAN events in 37 countries as of April 2020.  WomenArts ran the program from 2008 through June 2018.  StateraArts collaborated with WomenArts on the management of SWAN Day 2018, and StateraArts led the program (with support from WomenArts) during 2019 and 2020.

The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on the arts community. Almost all of the events for SWAN Day 2020 were either cancelled, postponed, or changed into online events because of the shelter in place orders which were issued around the world in March 2020.

Since the future of live arts events is unclear at this point, WomenArts and StateraArts are taking time to reassess and re-design all of their programs. We honor all of the people who have organized and participated in SWAN events over the years, and we look forward to developing and maintaining programs that will continue to address the needs of women and non-binary artists in these changing times.