Birmingham art competition launches in lockdown

With the lockdown forcing many of us to spend more time at home, Birmingham Museums Trust has moved this year’s Inspire art competition online to encourage people of all ages to get creative for their well-being and be inspired by what they can see.

Inspire 2020, is the fifth annual competition and for the first time there are no age restrictions. The theme is What I Can See and has been designed to help us think differently about our surroundings, and even explore our imaginations and thoughts.

Art submissions could be a poem, a still life, a painting in the garden, a portrait, photo, video, mud sculpture, or a pen drawing … there is no right or wrong!

In a time of such uncertainty and change, being creative is relaxing and good for our well-being, but it can also help us to make sense of our thoughts and the situation we are in. Arts Council England champion the message that art and culture is good for us and our mental health, and studies have shown that ‘45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body’[1].

The competition is ideal for school pupils and families looking for activities to do together and for older learners who want to test out their skills, as well as anyone looking to find a way to get their creative juices flowing.

Louise Alden, Learning and Engagement Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Making art for your own well-being can be really helpful, whether preparing you for the day ahead or slowing your mind down.  It enables us to pass the time creatively, and as many of us are spending more time at home and indoors we encourage everyone to immerse themselves in something they enjoy.

“We always look forward to this competition and seeing what people create, but it feels more important than ever to inspire people to create art to make sense of the difficult times we are living through. We would love to be able to display work from the finalists across our museums once we are able to reopen, but we’ll also be creating an online gallery to showcase submissions.”

The Inspire 2020 deadline is Sunday 14 June. Submissions will be showcased online, with the aim of eventually showing winning entries at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery once it is back open. While the team are keen to see artworks from everyone for the online gallery, the competition element will be limited to those living in the West Midlands region.

Find out more about the competition, including information about prizes and a guide to submitting entries, at


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