Filling a gap in arts education


The St Ives School of Painting, a historic painting School and a registered charity, has extended its provision for young people with the launch of an online youth programme.

The school, which has been teaching students in the renown Porthmeor Studios for over 80 years, stepped up its offering to the 7-18 age group in 2016 in response to the deficit in arts education and years of cuts to youth services – a situation now exacerbated by Covid-19.

Led by youth arts manager, Cat Lee, the school offers three different projects for young people; a Kids Sunday Art Club, an Art Collective for teenagers, and a Culture Camp for young people at risk.

The majority of the provision is free for young people to access, thanks to support from various funders including The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, St Ives Rotary Club, The Roy Ray Legacy Fund, Little Parc Owles Trust and the UK Government’s Kickstarter programme.

Lee explained: “Our Art Collective and Culture Camp are projects specifically aimed at those from low income households. We are targeting a big section of the next generation of adults who feel excluded from cultural experiences. Covid has intensified educational inequalities and left this group even more alienated.”

Meanwhile, The Porthmeor Art Collective is a new online project which focuses on contemporary art practices and ideas, led and taught by 18-25 year old emerging artists.

Currently spearheaded by emerging young artist Caleb Richards, whose role is part-funded by the Kickstarter scheme, this project is thought to be the only peer to peer initiative of its type in the UK.

The hour-long sessions are free and the syllabus covers topics including the roots and techniques of Manga, iconic album covers of the past decade, and New York graffiti in the 1980s.

Finally, in October the School will recommence its online Sunday Kids Art Club, with hour-long sessions suitable for whole families but specifically aimed at children between 7-12.

For more information or to get involved, visit