Arts Award is a national qualification that supports anyone up to the age of 25 to grow as artists and leaders in the arts, inspiring them to connect with and take part in the wider art world. St Ives School of Painting have been delivering Arts Award for many years, culminating in the Porthmeor Young Artists Programme which launched early 2017. The award builds confidence and self-esteem, helps open up young people to cultural activities and experiences, and prepares them for further education and employment.

Porthmeor Young Artists Project

This project gives vital space and resources to local young people with the spirit and drive to make art with regular workshops in the inspirational Porthmeor Studios and other making spaces like Leach Pottery. The local secondary school, St Ives School, has worked closely with us to develop the project. An Arts Council Grant for the project enabled the first group of young artists to get started in January 2017.  This resulted in 27 young people achieving Bronze Arts Awards. The moderator’s feedback was very positive and she commented that it was the most exciting Bronze work in the visual arts that she had seen in years.

“Lovely integrated creative portfolios across the different Bronze units, that reflected each individual young person. Genuine participation enabled by inspiring lead artist exploring range of visual art forms.” Rosie Russell, Moderator at Trinity College.

The young artists then worked towards Silver Arts Award which culminated in a youth festival for St Ives at the end of June 2018. Check out their festival video, filmed by our young artists and their Instagram here.

Over the 2 years, this project resulted in 57 Arts Awards for local young people, 42 of these in Bronze and 15 in Silver. School of Painting are still offering Bronze Arts Award as part of our inclusion project Culture Camp, which involves 6 Cornish Secondary Schools.

We have a target to raise £3,000 from the public to support the Porthmeor Young Artists programme per year. You can help sponsor a young artist yourself or take part in the St Ives Rotary postcard sale this September. Funds from the sale help towards our future youth work as well as supporting other arts organisations and local charities. Visit our support-us page find out more.

Our collaboration with Cornwall College and Cornwall Museum Partnership

In October 2017, we partnered up with the in-house Creative Futures team at Cornwall College to provide Gold Arts Award for young people studying Level 3 Art and Design courses at Cornwall College. They developed their Life Drawing skills here at School of Painting  fortnightly, led by two local artists. Their confidence in observational drawing grew very quickly and it changed how they thought about their own arts practice. Cornwall Museums Partnership supported the project by offering students opportunities through activities taking place at Wheal Martyn, Falmouth Art Gallery and Penlee House. Gold Arts Award will not only support their young people’s progression into creative careers, but also to give them experiences that opens up their thinking around what those careers could be. This was a pilot but the impacts have been such a great success, it has resulted in Arts Award Gold now being embedded in all creative courses at Cornwall College Camborne and St Austell. Read more about it on the Arts Award blog here. 

Arts Awards for Visiting Schools

Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England. As a registered Arts Award Centre, The St Ives School of Painting has a number of  artist tutors qualified to deliver Gold, Silver and Bronze Award. We also have a designated member of staff, Cat Lee, who manages Arts Award and anything related to young people.

As well as our own young people achieving Arts Awards, we are Arts Award Supporters.

If you are a young person doing Arts Award, you are welcome to join our Porthmeor Young Artists workshops to benefit from the advice of our expert artist tutors and fantastic studio spaces.

If you are a school running Arts Award with your young people, you can request bespoke workshops, tailored to the part of Arts Award they are completing.

To find out how we can help you achieve an Arts Awards qualification with us contact or ring 01736 797180. More information on Arts Awards can be found on the national website,

Current Arts Award Supporters

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