Blanton Bake-Off starts accepting submissions

Katy Nelson, Senior News Reporter

The Blanton Museum started accepting submissions on April 20 for its third annual Bake-Off, which encourages children, adults and professional bakers to recreate pieces of artwork from the museum into desserts. Submissions close on May 15.

The contest began in 2020 as a way to bring art from the museum home while it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants can submit their artwork by tagging @blantonmuseum on Instagram and using the hashtag #BlantonBakeOff. The competition is separated into three categories, which include “under 18,” “adult professional” and “adult amateur.” 

“I thought people in our community, especially during the closure, needed something tangible that they could engage with the art, especially because we were closed,” said Lizabel Stella, social media and digital content manager for the Blanton Museum. 

Voting for each category will take place on May 17, World Baking Day, and winners for each category will be announced a few days later, Stella said.

Stella started the competition when baking at home became popular on social media in the beginning of the pandemic. She said she became inspired by several UT graduates who sent her a direct message and tagged the Blanton Museum on social media with a cake based on Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin — a piece of artwork shown at the museum.

Stella said the competition still takes place online to emphasize the importance of the baker’s creativity and visuals. 

“I feel really honored that (participants) are putting time aside in their personal lives to create a work of art from our collection and they always seem to be having fun with it,” Stella said. “I feel like baking is something that appeals to all ages because it’s so multisensory. You can’t eat or smell art … so this is a completely new way for people to engage with art from our collection.” 

Christine Williams, winner of the 2020 Bake-Off in the professional category and owner of Cookies Del Mundo, said the competition is supportive to local bakers and business owners. She recreated Simone dei Crocifissi’s “Triptych on a chocolate cookie

“I make a lot of cookies for different occasions and I have enough business where I can pick and choose what I like, but it’s nice to do something that is totally under my control and I get to choose the subject,” Williams said. 

Georgia Gross, a 14-year-old participant in the under 18 category, recreated an untitled piece by Luis Montiel on a cake and last year, she recreated “Mapa by Malu Stewart. Gross said participating in the competition has led her to consider potentially starting a business of her own in the future. 

“I like making people happy and when they taste it they’re like, ‘Oh, this is so good,’ and it makes me feel good.” Gross said.

Stella said she hopes the Bake-Off helps people become inspired and find enjoyment in art and baking. 

“I’m impressed by how remarkable the entries have been,” Stella said. “It’s not even sometimes about your level of skills, it’s just that you’re willing to participate and have a bit of fun and show off to your friends like ‘Hey, I can make something.’”