About Art Bytes

Raising aspirations for better futures by championing the creativity of the nation’s next generation, using art and virtual technology.

Art Bytes is a national EdTech programme that utilises a bespoke, immersive, virtual gallery incorporating augmented reality elements, to give young participants the opportunity to see their art exhibited online and engage with new technology from the safety and convenience of their own home or school. It builds confidence and nurtures talent, allows children and young people to see galleries as places “for them” and encourages future cultural engagement.

After a shortlisting panel and an online public vote, the winning artist from each school sees their work displayed in our virtual gallery. Art Bytes culminates every June with a celebration event at a high-profile cultural venue in each of the nine regions of England, which is also available to schools to stream in the classroom or assembly. Regional winners are announced, certificates and prizes are presented, and the virtual gallery goes live.

The competition is open to Year 5 and Year 9 students  in all educational settings.

We warmly welcome SEND and Alternative Provision providers as well as mainstream schools.

SEND & AP Info

What Happens When?

“Schools and education are in some disarray and it’s not your fault! There is now less time for creative subjects in the curriculum, and so programmes like this are crucial in showcasing that schools can make time for the visual arts and can allow creativity, imagination, individuality and innovation to shine through.”

Susan M Coles, past president of NSEAD, secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Art, Craft and Design Education and an Associate of The Big Draw.

Why Take Part

Art is the perfect way for students to process their thoughts and feelings when trying to make sense of the pandemic. Participating in Art Bytes provides a key part of that recovery process.

The positive impact of our forerunner programme, dot-art Schools, on students’ mental health and well-being has been proven.  Research carried out by Liverpool Hope University and Curious Minds showed that taking part in dot-art Schools  nurtures children and young peoples’ creativity and boosts their confidence. We learnt that the students gain a measurable sense of self-respect from the process. ​ ​​

Participating in the competition can also raise students’ aspirations and engage student’s families. We know that the pandemic has increased the disadvantage gap markedly; engaging with dot-art Schools helps build valuable cultural capital in students.

Download The Case for Art Education in Schools

A useful advocacy document outlining the facts and what schools can do to improve art education.

Download Impact Report

A report on the impact of our forerunner programme dot-art Schools.



  1. Contributes to a broad and balanced curriculum which builds pupils’ cultural capital (included in the new Education Inspection Framework)
  2. Increase pupil’s self-esteem, particularly important with the growing mental health crisis facing young people, which has been magnified during lockdown.
  3. Help close the disadvantage gap, which has been significantly widened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Raise your school’s profile regionally and nationally and demonstrate the school’s commitment to arts and creativity
  5. Fantastic opportunity to showcase your student’s artwork outside school.
  6. Compare standards of artwork with other schools across the country.
  7. Improve students’ confidence in their own ability and give a real sense of pride
  8. Great way to engage student’s families through the public vote, virtual exhibition and celebration event.
  9. Demonstrate the quality of artwork produced to students’ families and the wider community
  10. Support your Artsmark journey and help meet Gatsby benchmarks, OFSTED and National Curriculum attainment targets

“The programme has reached out to particularly deprived communities, in a manner that is not only inclusive but that has brought out the very best that these communities have to offer, resulting in, at primary level, schools in highly deprived areas being far more successful than their affluent peers. This is undoubtedly evidence that the cultural capital of these participants has been significantly increased.”​ 

Liverpool Hope University, CERI Researcher
Boost self esteem

It’s a nice way to celebrate our pupils work and for them to receive acknowledgement for the work they’ve done. I think the awards ceremony is fantastic for boosting their self-esteem getting them out of their comfort zone to go.” ​

SEND teacher ​from participating school

Engage families

“Well done Tayla from her proud mum. Thank you so much to Gateacre School and dot-art for giving her the platform to express herself.”

Lisa Mairs, Parent

Nurture talent

“Cultural education programmes are so important in nurturing new artists that will become the next generation of artists that builds and progresses the country’s creative industries. This competition is a fantastic platform for young people to showcase their work.”

Victoria Merriman, Arts Council England

Venue Partners

We are delighted to be working with a high profile cultural venue in each of the nine regions of England to deliver Art Bytes. As well as lending their expertise in arts education, each will host a prizegiving event every June.

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