Alison Sharkey


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.



Alison Sharkey Director

Jane Cowans

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 of painting she loves surfing (when its not too big!) and taking the dog for long coastal walks. Jane is always at the end of the phone to help advise you on which course would suit you or the best places to stay in St Ives.

Jane Cowans Marketing and Office Manager

John Keys

Programme Manager

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.

John Keys Studio Manager

Jude Page

Course Advisor

Janet Wynne

Operations Coodinator

Cat Lee

Porthmeor Young Artists Coordinator and Studio and Office Assistant



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.

Mike Clough

John Hancock

Roy Ray

Paul Stayne

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 Willett

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

Stuart Evered

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.

L Studley