Mackintosh at the Willow - the original Willow Tearooms building, established in 1903.

Open Artist Commission – Creative Learning at Mackintosh at the Willow

Calling all artists – Creative Learning at Mackintosh at the Willow

As part of the exciting restoration and reinvigoration of the tea rooms at Mackintosh at the Willow (215-217 Sauchiehall Street) we now have a brand new arts education room. We’ll be using it to run workshops that inspire kids and young people, community groups and Mackintosh fans alike. But at the moment this is difficult because the room is a big white box!

Could you help us turn it into something that captures the spirit of Mackintosh but also encourages a whole lot of artistic flourishing in every person who walks through the door?

Artist brief

We invite anyone who lives in Scotland (birth or residency) to submit designs for the two large sliding cupboard doors in the art room (see details of specs below.) The chosen images should be connected in some way to the heritage and should inspire artistic output. There will be a £500 commission fee for the chosen image, which the Trust will transfer to wall vinyl to be fitted to the doors.

How you choose to creatively respond is totally up to you! Maybe you are inspired by Mackintosh’s iconic designs, or Margaret Macdonald’s friezes or Miss Cranston’s business savvy. Maybe you want to draw from pattern work or Art Nouveau but update it for a 21st century classroom. Maybe you love tea paraphernalia or steampunk or graphic novels or something else that you want to fuse with the tea rooms. We’d love to see your ideas!

Of course Mackintosh at the Willow is rightly proud of its famous son, but when Miss Cranston gave Mackintosh the commission he wasn’t the art rock star he is now. In that spirit we would stress that we’d love absolutely anybody who wants to enter to do so.


The chosen design will be selected by some children and a panel from Mackintosh at the Willow who will own the image outright, covering any future use.

We want to be as fair and encouraging to all as possible, so the competition will be judged anonymously. Please do not include your name or identifying mark on the image. Entries should be submitted with ‘Arts Education brief- artist’s name’ in the subject line.


  • There are two sliding doors, each measuring 170cm x 193cm. The right side door tucks behind the left and both have handles and locks so we suggest including a border of around 10cm for each. Bear in mind that a design for each door would be easier than trying to line up one image that spans the two, but it can be a repeat or a continuation.
  • The design must be age appropriate, as primary school children will be regularly using the space as well as adult learners.
  • Please bear in mind the winning image will be enlarged significantly.
  • Entries should be submitted by email or dropped into the building (Arts Education Department) with the final chosen image resubmitted via a format that allows for a suitably high resolution, such as a pen drive.

If you have any further questions feel free to email the arts education manager –

Entries should be submitted to the same email address by the end of the day, 30th September 2018.


  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless,
    just wanted to say excellent blog!

    March 26, 2020 at 6:21 am
    • willowisabella


      Many thanks! Look out for our next blog this Friday!

      April 6, 2020 at 2:21 pm

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