A distinct buzz filled the air in St Ives’ historic Penwith Gallery on the evening of Friday 5th April, as the cream of Cornwall’s young art scene arrived with their family, friends and followers for the closing celebration of St Ives School of Painting’s Young Artists Exhibition. The result of a county-wide call-out, the competition received entries from more than a hundred young people, highlighting the diverse and original talent across Cornwall. Former director of St Ives School of Painting and esteemed artist, Roy Ray, selected 72 pieces to hang on the Penwith Gallery’s famous walls, cementing their place in Cornish art history.

The competition’s format broke with convention, using an innovative Instagram gallery space to expand the exhibition’s engagement. An inclusive move by St Ives School of Painting, online users were able to vote for their favourite digital versions of the artists’ work on the platform.

The guests heard from artist tutor, Ges Wilson whose speech urged the young artists to trust their intuition and keep believing in themselves. Chairmain of St Ives School of Painting’s Board of Trustees, Neil Scott, praised the work of schools across Cornwall to conserve the arts in a climate where curriculum cuts are endangering pupils’ creative outlets. The exhibition highlighted the pertinence of art as a voice for change in critical areas such as climate change and young people’s wellbeing.

A hush fell over the room as the prize winners were announced: St Ives School of Painting’s Best in Show went to Truro School’s Charlotte Fortune (14), and Joe Whitby (16) of Cape Cornwall School. The public favourites were Dylan Yeoman-Hutchison (14) of Redruth School and Emily Hatherall (16) from Bodmin College. 14-year-old Isabel Gregson took the Instagram crown for her piece, which received over 400 votes.

Prizes included having their work published in the Seawhite Catalogue; free access to the Porthmeor Young Artists workshops and a tutorial with an artist; books and postcards of St Ives legend Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whose trust generously supported the Youth Exhibition; and a supply of art materials to support their future creative endeavours.

This was truly an exhibition of the future: embracing modern technology, warning of the threat to young people’s creative possibilities but celebrating, above all else, the courageous efforts of a group of budding artists to keep art alive.

Do you know a 13-18 year old who enjoys making art?

Maybe they had to give up art in school to make space for other GCSE or A level qualifications, but still love to be creative. Maybe they would like to enhance their creative portfolio as part of their studies.

We can fill the gap! On Sundays we run fortnightly 3hr workshops, guided by artist tutors based in our studios on Porthmeor beach.

1 – 4 pm only £10, subsidised by charitable donations.

This Summer term, we’ll be making art outside, a great combination of creativity and fresh air! Each session can booked individually so no commitment.

We also run sessions for 7-12 year olds in the mornings.

Come and join us! Drop in or book now

To find out more:

Contact Cat on cat@schoolofpainting.co.uk

Instagram Direct Message porthmeor_youngartists

or call 01736 797180.

By Charlotte Fortune age 14

By Emily Hatherall age 16

By Joe Whitby age 16

By Dylan Yeoman-Hutchison age 14

By Isabel Gregson age 14