For more than three decades, the Fife Art competition has attracted entries from talented amateur artists across the kingdom, with hundreds of winning works now gracing the walls of NHS buildings as a result.

Now the annual competition, organised by OnFife, is to undergo a major redesign to broaden its impact and reach more potential entrants.

Backed from the outset by sponsor Shell UK, the contest has been a showcase for thousands of works, from paintings to needlework, and even managed to go ahead last year, despite difficulties with submitting entries and a filmed final exhibition shared online.

However, earlier this year, when there was still uncertainty around restrictions that might be in place, the competition was put on hold. Feedback from a survey of participants reported that the virtual exhibition could not replicate the experience of seeing the works up close and in person.

In consultation with Shell UK, the decision has been made to pause the contest for 2021 – although plans are already in coming together for other activities this year such as creative classes and tutorials – and come back bigger and better next year.

“Covid-19 has presented us with a natural break that allows us to step back and engage with our communities and amateur artists to find out how they would like to see Fife Art develop and explore how we can attract new people,” said Gillian Parsons, the competition’s OnFife organiser.

“For more than 30 years the competition has been about the expression of creativity and there’s always been a fantastic buzz of excitement when entries start to arrive as we never know what’s coming in.

“We want to take forward that excitement but build on it so that more people are encouraged to express that creativity and get involved.”

Shell Fife NGL Plant Manager Craig Burnett said: “We’re really pleased to continue our longstanding support for Fife Art. We’re looking forward to seeing how the competition develops next year and hope that the Fife community will be inspired to take part in this celebration of creativity.”

The winning works in each category are presented to NHS Fife for display in hospitals and other facilities and the winners of the 2020 competition were delighted to be at Rothes Halls last week to see the handover take place. However, before the works take up their new positions, they will be exhibited at Kirkcaldy Galleries throughout September.