St Ives School of Painting have been announced as winning SILVER at the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2015/16 Artistic, Cultural and Learning category. Now in their 14th year, the annual awards shine the spotlight on the stars of the local tourism industry.
This local charity in St Ives has gone through a transformation in the last four years, with its profile as a beacon of artistic excellence growing worldwide. The drive for change came with the rescue of its home, The Porthmeor Studios, from the risk of crumbling into the Atlantic. Four years later the studios are themselves award winning following a four million pound refurbishment.
St Ives School of Painting now packs an enormous amount of all year round activity into its two restored studios overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. More than 2000 students a year from across the globe enjoy short courses, workshops, weekly life drop in classes, taught by local artists, delivering cultural experiences all year round. They also enjoy the recently launched yearlong Porthmeor Programme. Director Alison Sharkey says about the award “It’s the perfect marker of the journey the art school has been on over the past four years. It’s a journey similar to the one we see our students on. All about being open to learning new ways of working and embracing new ideas.”
From a student’s perspective, the studio space has changed little since it first welcomed artists in 1938. Behind the scenes, it has embraced digital technology to transform how it works. With investment from Arts Council England and the Superfast Cornwall Fund the School has put in place everything it needs to grow and improve. In particular, their website and social media helps to paint a compelling picture of their offer.
Winning this award reflects how far the School has come. It will be fascinating to see how this small local charity continues to grow and make its distinctive mark on the cultural scene of Cornwall.