GTOS Competition

Tapestry launches Reflections of Scotland art competition

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is calling for amateur and professional artists of all ages to record their artistic reflections of Scotland as part of a new national competition and exhibition to provide a vital record of the Covid-19 lockdown for generations to come. 

Some of the most inspiring entries will feature in the new Reflections of Scotland opening exhibit in the new purpose-built Great Tapestry of Scotland gallery and exhibition centre (the latest addition to Scotland’s globally acclaimed cultural and heritage scene) when it opens in 2021.

The competition is open to amateur and professional artists of all ages, with different prize categories for different age groups (see below for more details). Any artistic discipline can be used for entries (eg painting, illustration, sculpture, textile artistry, collage, photography and more). It could even be something you have already created.

Entries should showcase one or more of Scotland’s people, places, innovations, successes or moments. It could be your artistic interpretation of any reflections of Scotland that have come to mind during lockdown – whether it’s taking solace in the nostalgic memories of people, wildlife, places, music, film or events, or the people, places and things you looking forward to seeing in Scotland again in the future. It could be a celebration of the heroes we’ve seen flourish in lockdown, key moments we have experienced in Scotland during lockdown or the loved ones you’ve been thinking about at this time. The exhibition is designed to tell the story of Scotland at this time and the heightened period of reflection.

The judging panel will include the globally acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith (whose idea it was to create The Great Tapestry of Scotland).

In addition to having the opportunity to be part of the national exhibit, winners of each category will be given family passes to the new visitor experience and will be invited to be among the first to see the new centre at a red carpet opening event in 2021. A select number of professional artists will be given the opportunity to sell their artwork from the centre’s gallery.

To enter, please share a few pictures of your artwork and details of category you wish to enter (see below), using the hashtag #ScotlandsTapestry, via:

Deadline (updated): Monday 14 September 2020 at 17:00.

Please note your entry may be celebrated and shared on social media to encourage other entries. Please let us know when you submit your artwork, if you have any social media channels you would ideally like us to credit or if you do not wish your artwork to be shared. We will credit all artworks that we share.


We have five categories for this competition:

  • Amateur artists:
    • aged 16 +
    • aged 11 to 15
    • aged 7 to 10
    • aged 4 to 6
  • Professional artists

If you are under the age of 16, please ensure you have your parent’s permission to enter.

More information

Launching the call for submissions Great Tapestry of Scotland Centre Director Sandy Maxwell-Forbes said: “The Covid-19 lockdown has been one of the greatest periods of reflection in living history. As people are forced to stay safe by staying home, they are taking solace in nostalgic memories of people, places, films, TV, music, sporting events and Scotland’s historic past – many of which already feature in the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

“While no one can experience Scotland’s wonderful visitor attractions and events in person at this time, we wanted to launch this Reflections of a Nation competition to encourage people to positively embrace this time and their artistic reflections of Scotland, so that we can record the thoughts of this important period in living history and continue the wonderful people’s story of Scotland so beautifully told by the Tapestry.”

Speaking of his involvement, Alexander McCall Smith said: “I am very much looking forward to judging this exciting art competition. The Great Tapestry of Scotland has done so much to inspire artistic endeavour, and I am sure that here we will all see its positive influence once again.”

Welcoming the competition, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop said:  “The Great Tapestry of Scotland art competition is a welcome opportunity for the public to express and share their personal experiences during the recent challenging times of lockdown.

“The initiative will allow everyone from school pupils to professional artists to reflect on their experiences at this unprecedented time and the resulting exhibition of some of the best entries will serve as a permanent record for future generations to help them understand the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish society.

“It is fitting that the exhibition next year will coincide with the opening of the new Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor experience in Galashiels, which the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council has supported with funding of over £6 million as part of a wider economic and social regeneration across the South of Scotland.”

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead added: “The Great Tapestry of Scotland will chart the history of our country when it opens in the Scottish Borders next year. It is therefore fitting that it will also house a permanent record of these challenging times for future generations.

“The competition is a great opportunity for people across the country to share their own personal experiences of lockdown and how life has changed for us all. The exhibition will be a great addition to the visitor attraction which will play a significant role in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery in the future, and play an important role in attracting visitors to the region next year.”


A selection of the best entries will be displayed in the new Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre.

One winner from each category will receive a family pass to the new visitor centre (Maximum two adults and two children per pass) and and will be invited to be among the first to see the new centre at a red carpet opening event in 2021.

We will give selected professional artists an opportunity to sell their artwork in the centre’s new exhibition space.

Terms and conditions apply. Click here to visit our Terms and Conditions page.

Note: The Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre is currently reviewing its retail offering, pricing and artists commissions for sales. For professional artists invited to sell their artwork from their new exhibition space, the team will look to ensure the fairest artist commission rate possible to support Scotland’s arts and culture sector and the Tapestry’s continued telling of Scotland’s story for generations to come. The selected artists will be given details of the final commission rate and full terms and conditions of displaying and selling their artwork in the new exhibition space before they commit to displaying their work.

About the new Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre

In 2021, we will open the doors of the latest addition to Scotland’s national visitor attractions – the Great Tapestry of Scotland Centre. The stunning new purpose built visitor centre, with its origami style folding roof and bright and airy exhibition space, will be where Scotland’s story begins for many visitors. It will showcase the country’s rich history, heritage and culture from 8500 BC to present day, and will support the regeneration of one of the UK’s premier textile regions – the Scottish Borders.

At the heart of this exciting new attraction, and the reason for its creation, is the globally acclaimed Great Tapestry of Scotland, one of the world’s largest tapestries and community art projects. The Tapestry tells the people’s story of Scotland like it has never been told before. Hand stitched by 1,000 people from the length and breadth of Scotland, it was brought together by land sea and toured Scotland to great acclaim.