Sara Downham-Lotto is an abstract painter, educator and director of the social enterprise Arts Lab CIC.

She uses hands-on involvement in and appreciation of abstract art to inspire creative thinking and transformation across communities.


Art for Sara needs to engage, excite and challenge. Her painting is characterised by an upbeat joyousness emitted through colour, bold, abstract forms and repeating pattern. Process-led and experimental in approach, she works primarily with paper and mixed media, allowing pieces to evolve into 2D and 3D inventions. Her collage technique, layering discarded material from collaborative workshops and old paintings, embraces a radical deconstructing and reconstructing process. Each work then becomes a palimpsest of her own and others’ past experiences in the act of painting. 

Sharing her creative practice, Sara brings high quality teaching and facilitation to a broad range of groups and individuals. Her sessions are fun and engaging and bring out the creative in everyone, regardless of background and experience. At a time when creativity is becoming increasingly valued as a general force for good, there is no better time to roll up your sleeves and get involved.

Through art, the great leveller, Sara has run projects in collaboration with a number of organisations. Groups with diverse needs from diverse backgrounds are brought together and provided with space for creative expression, experimentation and a love of learning. In 2016, Sara founded Arts Lab CIC consolidating her lifetime’s work into a model that can benefit collaborators and wider audiences .


Fantastic stuff - and thank you so much for the opportunities that you have provided for my students to engage with wider arts practice this year!
Dan Paolantonio, Plymouth College of Art