Mayor calls on youngsters to take part in Fourth Plinth competition

05 February 2013

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is calling on youngsters across the capital to pick up their pencils, paintbrushes and cameras and get creative for this year's Fourth Plinth Schools Awards.


The Mayor is inviting local schoolchildren to produce their own works of art inspired by the contemporary commissions that have appeared on the famous "empty" plinth in Trafalgar Square. Those entering the competition will have the chance to win one of three top prizes. One winning entry from each London borough will also go on public display in a special exhibition at City Hall this spring.


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The Fourth Plinth is located in the heart of London and has fuelled the imagination of some of the best artists in the world. We want youngsters across the capital to come up with their own ideas. Pick up your pencils, paintbrushes, cameras, clay - whatever your tools, be inspired by the plinth and use your creativity. Who knows, we might even uncover a future Leonardo Da Vinci, Andy Warhol, or Yinka Shonibare.'


There is plenty for budding artists to be inspired by. Currently in place is a gleaming golden sculpture of a boy astride his rocking horse. Previous works have included a scale model of Nelson's Ship in a Bottle (now permanently installed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich) and Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant. And of course there is the plinth itself and its incomparable surroundings.


Those entering this year's Fourth Plinth Schools Awards can use any medium, including drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, digital and video. Group and individual entries are welcome and there is no limit to the number that each school can put in.


Students and schools need to submit artwork to the online gallery at, where full details about this year's competition can be found. Deadline for entries is Friday 15 March 2013.


Entries will be judged by Gregor Muir, Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which recently hosted the first ever Fourth Plinth retrospective, a show that attracted over 40,000 visitors during its short run.


Gregor Muir, whose extensive background includes working with the YBA art scene and many of the biggest names in contemporary British Art, said: 'The Fourth Plinth Schools Award is an exciting way to get young Londoners involved in art, especially in public places. I'm looking forward to seeing the artworks that school kids from across the capital come up with and hope it will make them look at their surroundings in a new and creative way.'

Notes to editors

The Fourth Plinth Programme


The Mayor of London's Fourth Plinth Programme is the most thought-provoking contemporary art prize in Europe. With support from Arts Council England the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the Capital City. The programme was initiated in 1998 by the RSA. In 2000 responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority.


The Fourth Plinth Programme is led by the Mayor's Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG). The FPCG recommends contemporary works for the Fourth Plinth.


The first commission under the FPCG was Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant, unveiled in a public ceremony in September 2005. It was followed by Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel in 2007 and by Antony Gormley's One & Other in 2009. Yinka Shonibare MBE's sculpture Nelson's Ship in a Bottle remained on the plinth until the end of January 2012 when it was de-commissioned from the plinth and re-installed outside the new Sammy Ofer Wing at the National Maritime Museum where it will remain on permanent display.


Other commissions have been Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger (1999), Regardless of History by Bill Woodrow (2000) and Monument by Rachel Whiteread (2001).


Katharina Fritsch's Hahn / Cock, will be unveiled later this year.




Arts Council England has been a funding partner supporting the programme since 2003. The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, it will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group

Ekow Eshun – Writer, Broadcaster (Chair)

Jo Baxendale, Visual Art, Arts Council England

Iwona Blazwick – Director, Whitechapel Gallery

Jan Boud - General Counsel, London Legacy Development Corporation

Mick Brundle – Principal, Arup Associates

Jeremy Deller – Artist

Tamsin Dillon – Head of Art on the Underground, Transport for London

Grayson Perry – Artist

Matthew Slotover - Co-director, Frieze Art Fair

Jon Snow – Broadcaster

Justine Simons – Greater London Authority (Director, Fourth Plinth Programme)