In 1996 Jo Hanson, Susan Leibovitz Steinman and Estelle Akamine created WEAD in response to increasing requests for artist referrals and for designing ecoart exhibits and programs. Rather than create one static program, they developed a programming tool that others could use to develop their own programs.
Word-of-mouth networking started in January, by WEAD’s presentation in March at the Regional N. CA. Women’s Caucus for the Arts, there were 100+ listing artists. From 1996 to 2004, with 200+ listees, editions were labor intensive cut-and-paste, xerox editions. In 1998 Estelle retired, and Jo and Susan were joined by a brilliant new group of 10 activist women artists, creating the WEAD Board of Directors, a collective volunteer creative force that continues to produce and direct all WEAD publications and outreach programs. In 2004-2006 editions were digitally mastered, a slick step up in the publishing world. But our website, begun in 1999 was our most successful form of communication, reaching by far the largest audience with the smallest carbon footprint and cost. In 2008 we suspended printing on paper. In 2010, at the ripe age of 15, WEAD launched a newly expanded and greatly improved interactive website. In 2012 WEAD launched another upgraded site, with improved access and more interactive pages.