Sea and road seen from the Tate St Ives site

Tate St Ives in the summer

Since opening in 1993, Tate St Ives has been an outstanding success, contributing on average £12m a year into the economy of Cornwall. It led 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 only 500 square metres of gallery space of a type that is more suitable for domestic scale work, we are limited in the programme that we can offer at any one time. In addition, the current loading and art handling facilities limit the scale of works we can accommodate and, added to the constraints on gallery space, lead to the need for the gallery to close for 6 weeks per annum for the change over of exhibitions and displays.

Wide-reaching learning and community programme

Tate St Ives also programmes a broad range of learning activities, designed to meet the specific needs of communities in Cornwall, and the needs of the rest of our visitors. These include workshops for families and young people, sessions for hard to reach communities including older people and people with disabilities, school tours, teacher training, and events aimed at the creative and educational sectors. These programmes are currently at capacity, catering in 2010/11 for 32,000 public programme users and 9,500 participants in visiting groups. At present the only dedicated learning space is a courtyard with a temporary roof, where heat, glare, acoustic problems and limited capacity are all issues that need to be urgently addressed.

Better facilities for visitors and staff

Due to the success of Tate St Ives, the gallery which was designed for an estimated 70,000 visitors each year, now receives over 200,000 visitors each year, with up to 2,000 visitors per day during summer months. Capacity at Tate St Ives cannot meet visitor demand: the galleries are often overcrowded, queues form for the café and toilets; and the shop can become very congested.

Finally, the gallery employs approximately 60 full time staff, 60 volunteers, and a large pool of artist educators, Young Tate and community facilitators. In the future we are keen to better support this team, and expand it to include more internships and apprenticeships, as well as visiting researchers and artists. As the back of house facilities at Tate St Ives are very limited, we are looking at securing some off site office accommodation, but need to create onsite facilities which will cater for the needs of essential staff and offer flexible accommodation for visiting staff and temporary placements.