The Museum of Block Art (MOBA), a project launched in 2022 featuring art created using the block editor’s design tools, is calling for submissions celebrating WordPress’ upcoming 20th anniversary.
In a short amount of time, the museum has collected more than three dozen works of block art, creative pieces that leave the viewer wondering how they were made using only WordPress’ core design tools. The MOBA features a diverse set of works – from a Mario mosaic made entirely of differently colored Button and Group blocks, to a textured gallery of city images melded together using the Columns, Cover, and Gallery blocks. All pieces are displayed with the HTML markup of the block(s) beneath, so curious viewers can dig into the details of which tools design tools have been applied.
MOBA’s curators are challenging artists to submit WP20 blocks inspired by the 20th anniversary logos and/or the color palette and images from the default themes through the years. These blocks will become part of the art history of WordPress’ capabilities.
MOBA founder Anne McCarthy said the submissions have “definitely evolved as the controls have grown since each new control added has a cascading creative impact.” To better illustrate this evolution, she has created release-specific virtual exhibits, including one for 5.9 and another for 6.0. She didn’t receive too many pieces for 6.1 and hasn’t created an exhibit for that release yet but has created some blocks using 6.1’s tools, and wrote a post about the process.
“I think it would be really neat to compare a 5.9 exhibit to a 6.9 or 7.9 showing how far the art has come in the same way you might look at art in a museum across the centuries,” McCarthy said.
“The vision is to explore WordPress, a software we take for granted, in a new way to create something unexpected—a virtual art museum featuring art made from the same blocks used to house the experience itself. WordPress is so known as a site building tool but we don’t talk about all that it unlocks, including being able to create some pretty rad art pieces. I hope it helps both empower folks to make their own art pieces and offers some inspiration, in the same way a museum might. I really just want to supercharge the sentiment of ‘Proudly Powered by WordPress’ to show just how much WordPress truly can power.”
One piece, the circular rainbow created by Chuck Grimmet, was printed out and displayed on one of the walls behind Matt Mullenweg during the 2022 State of the Word address. McCarthy said she would like to see more real life exhibits of the work from MOBA contributors, and that there is a chance some will be displayed at an upcoming flagship WordCamp event. Another idea she had is offering a way to order the art and print it out as a fun use of e-commerce, perhaps as an integration with the WordPress swag store.
In the future, McCarthy hopes to recruit submissions from artists outside the WordPress community and someday host an art “hackathon” where people gather to produce submissions.
MOBA’s curators are inviting users of all experience levels to create WP20-inspired blocks as part of the upcoming celebration. Those who are newer to the block editor can check out some of the recommended block tutorials as well as The Creative Side to Blocks series (volumes 1, 2, and 3) on WordPress.tv. Prospective contributors can learn more about how to contribute blocks to the MOBA collection on the museum’s website. Submissions will be reviewed by the initiative’s current panel of contributors.