Alison joined St Ives School of Painting in 2011 and since 2012 has taken on the role of Director. She has worked in the creative Sector in Cornwall since graduating from University College Falmouth with a BA in Fine Art in 2005. For over seven years she worked for Creative Skills, Cornwall’s creative business development agency supporting hundreds of artists in their career development. During this time she developed and managed the Visual Arts Forum for Cornwall and co founded the artist led space Back Lane West.
Her role combines developing the artistic direction of the School with responsibility for its administration and operation.
Living in St Ives, Alison loves snorkelling, morning coffee overlooking the harbour and being part of its vibrant cultural community.
Head of Marketing and Development
Jane Cowans joined the school at the end of 2011. Prior to that she was managing an £8.4M skills project for The Learning Partnership for Cornwall and IOS which included funding training for artists and other industry sectors.
After graduating from Oxford University with an MA and BA in mathematics Jane subsequently joined the Tourism industry working as Business and Marketing Manager for Thomson Holidays for 10 years before moving to Cornwall with her husband and two children.
When she’s not busy at The School she loves surfing (when its not too big!) and taking the dog for long coastal walks.
John joined the School in late 2011, ensuring students enjoy a well run studio and supporting our artist tutors. John is a practicing artist that paints and makes installations concerned with journeys, particularly in relation to the natural environment. He is also a highly experienced artist educator.
I studied a degree in Accounting and have always worked within Finance across various sectors.
Moving to Cornwall in 2011 with my partner and two children definitely changed all our lives.
Having two boys we spend lots of time on the beach surfing – although unlike the boys, I do not possess any natural skill! I enjoy running, kayaking and being outdoors.
While living here I have served as a school governor and treasurer for a local scout group.
Kym came to Cornwall in 1995, home-sick for the ocean after having spent two years living on the Red Sea. With a BA in Contemporary Creative Practice from Plymouth Uni, Kym first arrived in the studios as a volunteer in the Summer of 2016 and is now the Studio Manager.
Her role oversees the studios, equipment and materials as well as booking tutors and models for life drawing. Kym has been glad to welcome our technician Meg to the team this year and is also keen to expand our small bank of volunteers.
Outside of work Kym is a keen Latin dancer and enjoys almost anything outdoors. She’s almost finished restoring her Victorian house and is looking forward to spending more time in the studio herself this coming year.
I report to the Director and I’m responsible for overseeing the school’s legal compliance e.g. Safeguarding, Health & Safety, Equality, Information Governance, Charity Commission and Companies House. I manage HR; recruitment, contracts, sickness, leave, staff pensions and support the Director in organisational development and policy and procedures.
I’ve mainly worked in local government. After obtaining my degree in Anthropology I started work in HR and worked in Kent. I changed direction and became a Superintendent Registrar (Births, Deaths and Marriages) in Bristol and then Exeter. I then moved to Cornwall and was the Chief Registrar, managing the County Registration service for 14 years and took early retirement in 2009. After retirement I worked in Children’s Social Care in Brighton and Cornwall and joined the School of Painting in October 2016.
I love gardening and weird, unusual plants. I care passionately about animal welfare. I enjoy art and go to the theatre regularly. I particularly enjoy travelling to wild places and recently went to the Outer Hebrides and Shetland & Fair Isle staying in hostels and walking the islands.
Porthmeor Young Artists Coordinator
Cat Lee our Young Artists Coordinator manages anything youth. With a background in arts charity and art education, she has a passion for arts engagement and participation. She graduated with a First in Photography from Falmouth University in 2004, then moved to London to do a post grad in Post Compulsory Education at the University of East London. A firm believer in art for social change, she’s been engaging different groups in art since then, from excluded kids and teens, refuges and vulnerable adults, to prisoners and their children. While in London she was a Governor of the Pupil Referral Unit Kennington Park Academy.
Cat joined St Ives School of Painting in 2016 to launch a programme for young artists. Since then local young people have achieved 57 Arts Award qualifications and alongside her young artists, Cat produced a youth festival which collaborated with Tate Collective and Hall For Cornwall, reaching audiences of over a thousand.
She loves all things art but also has a passion for long distance running. She’s swapped pacing Nike’s women’s run club in London, with long runs along the South West Coast Path trying to spot dolphins.
Jude joined the team in Spring 2016, bringing a joy of connecting and communicating alongside a desire to help folk have an inspiring and wonderful time here.
Jude’s professional background encompasses diverse roles across the creative and education sectors including professional development guide (at Creative Skills, along with Alison) teacher, lecturer, community arts coordinator and project manager. These roles have been accompanied throughout with spells as a performer and singer, most recently with Wildworks.
Her passions include harmony singing, beaches, wild swimming and she is currently addicted to Lindy Hop dancing. Jude harbours a great love of Cornwall (particularly this Westerly tip of it) and is happiest when out under the sky. When not singing, dancing, swimming or working here at the School, Jude is also a massage therapist (a skill appreciated by the team!) and tutors within massage and bodywork in Bristol.
Sophie joined the team in April 2018, working closely with Jane and Jude to ensure students are guided, advised and encouraged so they feel confident in their creative choices.
Graduating in Fine Art from Falmouth University in 2017, Sophie makes time outside of work to develop her arts practice which typically takes the form of paintings or installations. She has also been a Peer Leader on the young people’s programme at Tate St Ives since 2014 and has created and co-hosted arts events in St Ives for young people. Taking the role of young evaluator on the programme, she has also travelled across the UK evaluating arts festivals and meeting fellow art enthusiasts.
Now living in St Ives, Sophie loves exploring the coastal paths and spending her evenings on the beach with a good sunset.
Megan joined St.Ives School of Painting in January 2018. She ensures the studios are kept clean, tidy and organised and that the Tutors are well supported.
Megan has been a practising illustrator since graduating from Falmouth University in 1999. This has included artwork for books, greetings cards, wrapping paper, graphic design for newspapers and other commissions. She is currently inspired by the scenery upon her doorstep and is working towards a collection of paintings based on local harbour and beach scenes.
When not at work Megan enjoys spending time with her family, going for long walking adventures, swimming in the sea and getting lost in a good book.
Neil Scott – Chair
I live in St Ives with my wife and son, since moving here from Oxfordshire in 2007 and having been a regular visitor since 1983. It is the town’s connection to the arts, both twentieth century modernists and current contemporary, and its connection to the elements that brought me here to live.
I work as Truro’s Business Improvement District (BID) Manager, managing and co-ordinating a wide range of projects all aimed at attracting more people into Truro and getting them to engage with and explore the city.
I have a passionate and detailed knowledge of and enthusiasm for the St Ives art colony, both past and present and actively engage in local art events. I am a painter and have exhibited in Cornwall, London and Reading and have attended several courses at St Ives School of Painting over the years which have helped tremendously with my own practice and with making connections with the local arts activities.
I am delighted to have been appointed as a Trustees of St Ives School of Painting and feel that I will be able to do much to support its great work.
Now retired, I spent 35 years in high street banking where I attained the Institute of Bankers qualifications including Accountancy, Economics, and Practice of Banking. As Lending Manager I was able to analyse company accounts and advise on cash flows and business plans. In 1994 with bank cut-backs I had the opportunity of taking early retirement which I happily accepted, but 3 months later the bank asked me to join a team of trouble-shooters to carry out a much needed audit at their Stockbroking Office. This was a new departure for me and I enjoyed the detective work of tracing missing stocks and shares! I was there for a further 7 years.
From school days I always had an interest in art and while working in London I took advantage of the life classes at the Mall Galleries to keep my hand in. When I thought I might take early retirement I applied for a place on the 2-year City Lit portfolio course and was accepted. At last I had got into art school! During our holidays my wife, Sheila, and I came on the St Ives School of Painting’s excellent summer courses where we met Roy Ray and his team of artist/tutors. Like many others this was the beginning of a love affair with St Ives. When we moved to St Ives Roy asked me to join the board of trustees and I leapt at the chance.
Helen is head of the commercial property team at Coodes solicitors. Coodes are one of the oldest law firms in Cornwall with a network of eight offices from Penzance to Holsworthy. She acts for a wide range of clients and specialises in buying, selling, leasing and developing commercial property.
Helen moved from London to Cornwall with her partner and twin daughters in 2012 having worked for the previous 20 years in an international legal practice. Her move to Cornwall was driven by a desire to be by the sea and to be more involved in a local community. She has a strong connection to St Ives and has spent holidays here since her student days.
Helen supports the school in relation to legal and regulatory matters
Originally from Bristol. Qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant at age 22 and held a number of senior board positions with commercial organisations in that city. Moved to Cornwall thirty years ago to become Finance Director of Geevor Tin Mines plc which was regrettably shortlived due to the demise of the mine. Then managed a large growers’ cooperative based at Penzance for ten years. Followed that with an eight year stint in public service as Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Cornwall with responsibility for finance, HR, IT, property, and partnership contracts. Then joined the charitable Cornwall Arts Centre Trust Ltd as Finance Manager. Retired from that post after seven years in 2008 but retained links as a trustee. Then worked one day per week for Miracle Theatre Trust Ltd as Finance Manager. Retired from that role but remained as a trustee until 2015. Now fully retired
Gizela D Rashidi
I hold a deep passion for art and design. My degree was in Jewellery design at Middlesex University. Prior to entering teaching I worked in a Jewellery firm in London and in New York.
I have been a teacher for 18 years; 10 years as Tavistock College, teaching GCSE and A level, before moving to St Ives. I love working with young people, their energy, open minded approach to new challenges and creativity is inspiring. I always consider myself fortunate to teach a creative subject, where students who may struggle academically can achieve so much. The impact this has on their self-esteem and confidence is highly rewarding. I am currently the Head of Creative Arts at St Ives School, mainly teaching Graphic Design.