St Ives School of Painting is located in the middle of Downalong which is the oldest and arguably the most picturesque part of St Ives. Downalong formerly generated much prosperity for the town through fishing and trading activities and is now the centre of a thriving arts scene. The Tate St Ives was opened in 1993, it is a magnificent building overlooking Porthmeor Beach but is temporarily closed until 31 March 2017 due to major construction work.
St Ives establish its credentials as an art colony in the late 1800’s. The arrival of the Great Western Railways in St Ives in 1877 made it much more accessible and encouraged development of the Tregenna Castle Hotel and other fine buildings in the upper reaches surrounding St Ives Harbour.
Early Modernism in Britain really took-off in the 1920s and 1930s with Cornwall and St Ives being at the forefront with artists including Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood, Barbera Hepworth, Alfred Wallis and Naum Gabo. It was during the the post war years St Ives became a leading influential force in abstract art: The group had changed and the concept of St Ives School was formed, with principle figure becoming involved who included Patric Heron, Peter Lanyon, Bernard Leach. Artist studios and galleries have proliferated in St Ives over the last century. There are now over 30 galleries, all within walking distance of each other, the centre of activity being ‘Downalong’ the old fishing quarter of St Ives,
Painting holidays and art courses St Ives are scheduled through the year and have become popular out of season. The best cafes and restaurants are open all year round, making art focused holidays wonderful option for alternative holidays and short breaks in the UK . There are several art school options with the two most well known being St Ives School of Painting and the Leach Pottery.
If you’re visiting St Ives to enjoy the art, the best are to stay is in Downlong, located close to Fore Street , with the harbour on one side and Porthmeor Beach on the other. This is the right place to explore the tiny cobbled streets on foot, to find the galleries, shops and boutiques, the cafes, bars and the restaurants.