Inspirational art classes in St Ives and Cornwall for adults and kids

What comes to mind when you think of St Ives in Cornwall? Surfing, perhaps? That would make sense as, according to many, St Ives has spectacular beaches to rival the best in the Mediterranean. 

It may be best known as a seaside resort, but it also has a thriving cultural scene that attracts creative minds from all over the country. This is undoubtedly why St Ives calls itself ‘the art mecca of the South West’. 

If you’re planning an artistic escape to this desirable destination, consider adding the following attractions and activities to your itinerary.

St Ives School of Painting

The St Ives School of Painting offers fantastic courses across all abilities and mediums. To really get a sense of St Ives, consider their Creative Weekender courses where you will work in a small group in their Porthmeor beach studio overlooking the ocean. Learn to replicate subjects such as the beautiful St Ives coast, taking inspiration from the blissful waves. 

For more information on St Ives School of Painting click here.

Tate St Ives

Your first stop has to be the iconic Tate St Ives which opened in 1993 and was extended in 2017. Tate galleries are some of the most iconic in England, and this particular location was chosen in recognition of St Ives’ rich artistic history. It boasts associations with internationally renowned names in the world of art such as Barbara Hepworth and Mark Rothko. Here you will find an astonishing collection of pieces and touring exhibitions to peruse. Be sure to check their events page once you’ve confirmed your dates – you may find that the gallery is hosting workshops or talks that you’d like to attend. 

For the younger ones Tate St Ives run art sessions on Porthmeor beach during August, inspired by the artists and magical stories of the area. Suitable for ages 5-12 and priced at £3 each, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. So why not explore the beaches of St Ives and get creative this summer!

St Ives Tate art sessions
For more information on Tate St Ives click here.

Leach Pottery St Ives

Are you an artist yourself or simply an appreciator of art? Either way, you’ll find something to hold your interest at Leach Pottery. This is a St Ives institution that has been in operation for over 100 years! To learn more about the developments that have occurred during its lengthy lifespan you should visit the onsite museum.

Here you can experience exhibitions based on the work of innovative pottery artists. You might even find yourself inspired to give pottery a go. If so, Leach Pottery has 3 and 5 day throwing courses available as well as more advanced courses for experienced potters. Where better to learn from the best than right here?

For more information on Leach Pottery click here.

The Leach Pottery also holds clay mornings in the studios for family-friendly sessions where your child can enjoy hands-on clay making activities during the school holidays. Children will make one item following a theme of the day, for example, a tropical fish, animal sculpture or decorating a tile.

For more information on Leach Pottery click here.

I Should Coco

We often think of art as a visual feast, but there’s no reason it can’t be a tasty one too! I Should Coco is a family-run artisan chocolate shop based in St Ives. They run a range of chocolate making workshops for all ages and abilities, meaning the whole family will be able to munch their own masterpieces!

Printing Workshops with Annabel Wilkes

Annabel Wilkes is an experienced printer who specialises in collagraph and monotype techniques. From her workshop space she gives classes on both approaches. 

For those new to this medium, collagraph printing involves etching designs based on found materials. Monograph prints, in contrast, are made by drawing on glass, metal or stone with ink or paint.

Annabel’s works have been exhibited in a range of galleries in the local area and beyond, so she’s very qualified to teach these methods. The cost of each class includes the many materials you will use, so all you have to bring is yourself and your enthusiasm.

For more information on Annabel Wilkes click here

Barnoon Arts Workshops In St Ives

Barnoon Arts incorporates a gallery with workshop space so you can not only check out local artists there, but you can also produce your own pieces.

Outdoor art sessions run from this location to take advantage of St Ives’ scenic beauty, offering you the opportunity to paint and draw the local area. Classes are designed to be fun and informal, meaning you needn’t worry about your skill level.

If you’re a fan of St Ives art you will undoubtedly know the name Alfred Wallis. Why not take a class that teaches you how to paint in his iconic style? Beyond painting and drawing you can also participate in shoreline beach crafts and resin jewellery making at Barnoon Arts. 

For more information on Barnoon Workshop click here.

Cygnets Art School

If you’re travelling with little ones you will be happy to hear that Cygnets Art School offer classes specifically for children, with subjects including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Experienced art teachers lead the sessions, guiding students through practical art projects while teaching them the fundamentals of art history.

Enrolling your kids at Cygnets Art School is a great idea if they have a passion for art and they’re ready to expand on their skills. Classes are very educational but even more enjoyable.

This summer Cygnets St Ives are running a series of fantastic workshops for ages 6-12. There are three workshops running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout July and August, each covering an exciting new topic and medium – so you can attend one, more or even all of them! 

For more information on Cygnets St Ives click here.

Newlyn School of Art

Just a short drive around the coast from St Ives is Newlyn School of Art. They offer inspiring short painting courses taught by many of the most respected artists working in Cornwall today. Many of their courses take place on the dramatic coastline around West Cornwall. 

Their classes are small to allow for lots of one to one tuition with the artist tutors, with beginners and more experienced artists welcome. They will provide all materials to make things easier for those attending courses.

The courses are 2-7 days in length throughout the year. The life drawing runs on Wednesdays 7-9pm and has around eight different artists teaching the sessions on rotation making each week different, fun and energised with everything from traditional drawing through to more experimental approaches.

For more information on Newlyn School of Art click here.


Art Holidays in St Ives

Now you have a packed itinerary for your stay in St Ives all that’s left to do is pack your bags and stay in one of our unique and luxurious self-catering holiday cottages, family friendly cottages, dog friendly, sea views properties, cottages with parking in St Ives or Carbis Bay. Don’t forget to bring your creative inspiration!

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