Two years ago, at the start of the global pandemic, people found creative ways to stay indoors. During this time, museums across the world had to close their doors to the public. One museum, however, had a fun (and tasty) idea to stay connected with the community from afar. The Blandon Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, launched the Blanton Bake-Off in 2020, challenging art fans to transform their favorite works of art into edible desserts.
“Blanton Bake-Off was started by our social media and digital content manager, Lizabel Stella,” Katie Bruton, public relations & media manager for Blanton Museum of Art, tells My Modern Met. “It was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were picking up baking and posting their creations to social media.” This sparked an idea for Stella, who thought they could keep people engaged with the museum by inviting them to make artistic confections. “I feel like baking is something that appeals to all ages because it’s so multisensory,” Stella explains. “You can’t eat or smell art…so this is a completely new way for people to engage with art from our collection.”
From modern paintings to ancient artifacts, people have imitated a range of artworks from the museum. 2022 marks the third year of the contest, with entries in three categories: adult (amateur), adult (professional), and under-18. “It’s an eccentric contest, but at the heart of it, it’s about finding joy and respite, even during trying times,” says Bruton. Three bake-offs in, this continues to be true.” Many participants have even thanked the museum for starting this contest, as it encouraged them to take time for themselves and try something new. “We’re going through a lot of hard things and political stuff right now. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to take a break—not to ignore the things that are happening, but to make time for the things that move you,” Stella says. “This moves me. I’m gonna make a cake. It’s very simple.”
Scroll down to see more tasty and creative confections and follow Blanton Museum of Art on Instagram to see what they’re up to next.