Wikipedia had one of its more interesting deletion discussions overnight. A page called Wikipedia Art lasted about a day. By site standards the deletion was mundane, but the editors who created it were not. There's an untapped opportunity here and I'm reaching out to them. The artists Scott Kildall, Nathaniel Stern, and Brian Sherwin were active in it, apparently with a measure of support from the academic art world.
There are untapped synergies between Wikipedia and professional artists. One of them is illustrated here: a portrait of actor Mark Harmon by professional photographer Jerry Avenaim. This photo is scheduled to run on Wikipedia's main page tomorrow.
Mr. Avenaim himself didn't nominate the portrait for featured picture. Another volunteer noticed its high quality and put it up as a candidate where it nearly failed the minimum resolution requirements until I noticed the photographer was already an active Wikipedian and contacted him. He was surprised and delighted to learn his work was under consideration, and supplied a larger version.
Now here's good news for Jerry Avenaim: as Picture of the Day for February 17, 2009 the portrait will receive an estimated 6 to 7 million page views as a main feature, plus about 30,000 direct views to the image hosting page. That's more attention than his work would get from a day on the front page of The New York Times. Thank you, Jerry Avenaim, for doing well by doing good. Here's a link to his blog.
I would love to establish contact with the Wikipedia Art participants and help them direct their considerable talents into productive endeavors. Posted to the Village Pump discussion about this. Let's hope it yields fruitful results.