View of the anticipated Tate St Ives Project
View of the anticipated Tate St Ives Project

Tate St Ives Phase 2

Tate St Ives opened in 1993, on a spectacular site overlooking Porthmeor Beach, marking the legacy of St Ives Modernism, and the artists who worked in the town during the mid twentieth century. Tate St Ives offers a lively and varied international exhibition programme with three major exhibitions each year. Exhibitions include major figures in British and international Modern and contemporary art.

The gallery and its programme attracts over 200,000 visitors a year and brings approximately £12m into the regional economy.

With the twenty-first anniversary of Tate St Ives, the gallery’s importance as a part of the nation’s cultural heritage is increasingly apparent and we want to build on these achievements as well as create a new offer for the twenty-first century through Tate St Ives Phase 2, a project which will refurbish and extend the gallery.

Tate St Ives Phase 2 has developed out of and been informed by close consultation with local residents and visitors to St Ives.  There is a desire to see more of the Tate collection in Cornwall, and a continued interest in the best of international modern and contemporary art. In addition it is clear that there is broad interest in our events and learning programmes.

Tate is now embarking on a programme of works which will see the creation of an extension doubling the current gallery space, as well as delivering new dedicated learning spaces and improved visitor facilities in the existing building.

What work is happening now?

From Monday 15 December 2014, the construction company, BAM are resuming the excavation of the Greenstone (or Blue Elvan as it is known locally) in the site of the new extension. This is next to the gallery. Construction stops for Christmas on Friday 19 December 2014 and resumes on Monday 5 January 2015. 

The excavation will continue into spring 2015. At times there will be noise, which we are seeking to keep to the minimum, but we would be grateful for your patience at this time.

What work has been completed?

  • In the Heron Mall, a new reception area has been created, as well as a new cloakroom facility which has taken the place of the previous reception area. Since completion in May 2014, Tate St Ives now has a more welcoming and convenient entrance for visitors which relieves congestion on busy days and also provides a useful information point for our Circuit programme. 
  • A new resource room has also been completed which serves as a dedicated space in which to access information on St Ives Modernism, Tate’s teaching and learning resources, the online Tate collection, library and archive catalogues, and browse a range of art books and other publications.
  • An information display with further details of the works being undertaken can be seen in the Heron Mall at Tate St Ives.

The reason for Tate St Ives Phase 2

Since opening in 1993, Tate St Ives has been an outstanding success, leading the way for other ambitious projects such as the Eden Project in 2000 and the Combined Universities of Cornwall in 2004.

Expanding exhibition and display programme

Tate St Ives currently offers a world class programme of exhibitions and displays. However, with enhanced spaces the gallery could offer a greatly expanded programme without the temporary closure of exhibitions and display spaces.

Wide-reaching learning and community programme

Tate St Ives engages 37,000 visitors in public learning programmes annually, including school tours, teacher training, workshops for families and young people and sessions for hard to reach communities such as older people and people with disabilities. The temporary Courtyard space has demonstrated the value of a dedicated learning facility, but there is a need for improved Learning spaces.

Better facilities for visitors and staff

The gallery was designed for 70,000 visitors a year, so after 20 years of operation with over 200,000 visitors annually, there is an urgent need for expansion to accommodate and look after our visitors.

In addition, the gallery employs a large pool of full time, part time and casual employees, volunteers, artist educators, young people from the local area as part of Tate Collective and community facilitators. We want to better support this team, expand it to include more internships and apprenticeships and build on our research into arts practice with residencies for visiting researchers and artists.

Project Information

Project type: 
Project leader: 
Mark Osterfield, Executive Director Tate St Ives