Date of Birth – 1961

Residence – South Devon

Education and Training


Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Plymouth


Devon Social Entrepreneur Programme, School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington – investing in individuals from all backgrounds who have practical ideas for change


Medicine & the Arts. Humanising Healthcare (6 week online course with Future Learn from University of Cape Town)

Working in the arts to support young people’s emotional, psychological and social wellbeing – DAISI (Devon Artists in Schools Initiative) Training Day.


SACRO (Scottish Association for the Care & Resettlement of Offenders) prisoner befriender course.


British Council/Polish Government Post Graduate scholarship Gdansk PWSSP (Art Academy), Poland.


MPhil Art History Glasgow University (Thesis: Role of Primitivism in Work of Emil Nolde 1905-15).


BA (Hons) Fine Art 2.1 Manchester Polytechnic.


Art Foundation at St Martin’s School of Art, London.




2 National Lottery Community Development Grants for Arts Lab projects working with male prisoners;

Elmgrant Trust, Dartington grant for Arts Lab social media support;

FEOFFEES annual grants for Workshops in the Community for Mental Health.


Big Lottery Community Development Grant for Arts Lab project working in male prison;

Lloyds Bank/ SSE Start-up grant;

Invest in Devon, Devon County Council equipment grant for Arts Lab, Dartington;

FEOFFEES annual grants for Workshops in the Community for Mental Health;


Elmgrant Trust, Dartington grant for Arts Lab pilot project;

Helen Foundation grant – music/art project for 7 Teignbridge schools;

FEOFFEES annual grants for Workshops in the Community for Mental Health.


Plymouth Arts Centre grant for working with inner city young mums;

King Edward VI Community College Parents Association award for The Open Box project start up;

FEOFFEES grant for Workshops in the Community for Mental Health


Arts Council/ Plymouth Art College AA2A residency award (Artists Access to Art Colleges)


Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty pilot funding for Avon Valley Project


Edinburgh District Arts Council exhibition assistance grant


British Council/Polish Government Postgraduate Scholarship – Gdansk Art Academy (PWSSP), Poland


Glasgow University Whistler research grant – Nolde Museum, Seebull, Germany


Selected Solo Exhibitions


Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Art as Collaboration II’


Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Art as Collaboration’


Space Gallery, Dartington – ‘Illuminate’


Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Fill it with Colour’


South Brent Old School Centre, Devon – ‘Sense of Places’


Espace d’Art, Fourcès, France – ‘Words’


Plymouth College of Art – ‘Connecting the Dots’

Artworks, South Brent, Devon – ‘Words’

Birdwood House, Totnes – ‘Repeat’


Ariel Centre, Totnes, Devon – annual shows: ‘Viewpoints’; ‘New Coats’


Harbour House, Kingsbridge, Devon – annual shows: Winter Glow’; ‘Looking Forward’; ‘New Light New Discoveries’; ‘Points of View’


The Flavel, Dartmouth – ‘Colour Sensations’


Devon Artists Network & South Hams Art Forum Open Studios


Annual shows at Clissold House, Stoke Newington, London


Gallerie Michelle, Old Town Alexandra, VA, USA


North Carolina  – exhibitions at Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, Art Source in Raleigh & Carrboro Arts Centre, USA


Regular shows in Edinburgh galleries, including Firth, Kingfisher, Leith, Queen’s Hall, Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum, French Institute, WASPS


Chatton Gallery shows, Northumberland


Chapel Gallery, Saltram House, Plymouth, Devon


Exhibitions in Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow & Zakopane, Poland

Selected Group Exhibitions


Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Paint Matters’


Space Gallery, Dartington – ‘A Quiet Collaboration’

Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Arts Lab artists’ showcase’


Arts Lab, Dartington – ‘Do more of what you love’


Salcombe Contemporary, Devon

Artworks, South Brent, Devon


Ariel Centre, Totnes – ‘The Dart Watershed’

Art at 96, Topsham, Devon

Artworks, South Brent, Devon


Bunker 3 Project nr. Salcombe, Devon

Harbour House Kingsbridge – 2 shows: ‘Responses. New Work by Ian Carr & Sara Downham-Lotto’; ‘Renewal’

Avon Mill & Artworks, Devon


Bunker 2 Project nr. Salcombe, Devon

Brownston Gallery Modbury – SHAF (South Hams Arts Forum), Devon

Harbour House Kingsbridge – 2 shows ‘Blue’ & ‘Contemporary Passions X’


Bunker 1 Project nr. Salcombe, Devon

Totnes Observatory – ‘Five Devon Artists’


Red Earth Gallery Tiverton, Art Mill Plymouth, Artspaces Totnes, Delamore Cornwood – Devon


Rowley Gallery, Kensington, London

Harbour House, Artspaces Totnes, Hope Cove Gallery – Devon


Brownston Gallery, Modbury, Red Propeller, Kingsbridge & Artworks – Devon

West Eleven, Notting Hill, London

White Space, Greenwich, London


Chatton Gallery, Northumberland

 White Lane Gallery, Barbican, Plymouth


Art Source, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Carrboro Arts Centre Faculty Show, NC, USA

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh – ‘SSA Annual Show’ (Society Scottish Artists) Firth Gallery, Edinburgh


Heifer Gallery, London – ‘Essence of Landscape’

Gallerie Michelle, Old Town Alexandra, VA, USA – ‘European Show’

White Lane Gallery at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth


Cadogan Contemporary, London – ‘Images of the Sea’

Thompson’s Gallery, London – ‘The Sea Show’ & ‘The Scottish Show’

Air Gallery, Dover Street, London

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh – ‘SSA Annual Show’ (Society Scottish Artists)

White Lane Gallery, Barbican, Plymouth – ‘Summer Exhibition’


Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh – SAAC 7th, 8th & 9th Annual Exhibitions (Scottish Artists & Artist Craftsmen)


Edinburgh: Firth Gallery – ‘Six Women Artists’ (Ed. International Festival)

Leith Gallery – ‘New Work by Bill Gillon & Sara Downham)

Kingfisher Gallery – ‘Into Spring’

Chatton Gallery, Northumberland – ‘Summer Show’


Edinburgh Galleries Firth, Leith, Kingfisher – Annual Christmas Shows


Galeria Dal, Gdansk, Poland – ‘Auction of Contemporary Painting in Poland’


New Street Gallery, Barbican, Plymouth – “The Last Great Picture Show’


Galeria Arche, Gdansk – ‘Two British Artists Working in Gdansk’


Poland touring exhibition – Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow – ‘Eight British Artists’

Art Fairs


Salcombe Contemporary Art Fair, Cliff House, Devon


Brighton Art Fair solo stand


Creative Dartmouth, Devon


Great Create Arts Festival, Greenaway House, Devon


West Eleven Gallery, London in Edinburgh, Manchester, Dulwich, Hertfordshire


Manchester Art Fair solo stand


Thompson’s Gallery, London at Olympia

Davies & Tooth, London in Glasgow

Workshop and Teaching Experience



  • Full-time workshop delivery for Arts Lab CIC
  • Stockbridge Studio/Kitchen Table, Devon – weekly sessions with mental health group


  • Plymouth University Institute of Education – Art & Music workshop/seminar –   B.Ed. students with art and music specialism
  • Arts Lab, Dartington at Aller Park, Totnes – facilitation/collaboration for/with local schools & professionals working in the arts
  • St Peter’s Primary School, Portishead, Somerset at Kilve Education Centre – Bright & Bold  workshop for 80 Yr 4s
  • Kilve Court, Bridgewater, Somerset – Art Enrichment residential weekends – Yrs 3-10; Family Day Art Tent
  • Stockbridge Studio/Kitchen Table, Devon – weekly sessions with mental health group; private one-to-ones for adults/young adults


  • Teignbridge Community College & 6 primaries – Helen Foundation 8 week collaborative Music/Art
  • Plymouth Arts Centre & Zone – weekly Creative Play – young mums & kids in Barne Barton
  • Kilve Court, Bridgewater, Somerset – Art Enrichment residential weekends – Yrs 3-10
  • Stockbridge Studio/Kitchen Table, Devon – weekly sessions with Cool Recovery mental health group; private one-to-ones for adults/young adults
  • King Edward VI Community College, Totnes, Devon – weekly facilitator for The Open Box


  • Plymouth Arts Centre & Zone – weekly Creative Play for young mums & kids in Barne Barton
  • Kilve Court, Bridgewater – Art Enrichment residential weekends – Yrs 3-5
  • Stockbridge Studio/Kitchen Table – weekly sessions with Cool Recovery mental health group
  • Plymouth University Institute of Education  – Artist Day – 2nd Yr B.Eds
  • Plymouth College of Art – Twilight sessions with 1st Yrs Drawing, Painting & Printmaking
  • King Edward VI Community College – weekly facilitator for The Open Box


  • Plymouth College of Art – Tide Mark with Film, Art Foundation & Painting students;
  • Yr 13s recruitment from Saltash CC & South Dartmoor CC
  • Compton C of E Primary School, Plymouth – Abstractions – Yrs 2, 5 & 6
  • St Maurice Primary, Plympton – World War II Remembrance – Yrs 5 & 6
  • Stockbridge Studio – private sessions for adult groups
  • King Edward VI Community College at the Ariel Centre- Responses to artist’s show


  • Abbotskerswell Primary School, Devon – DAISI day – Yrs 5 & 6
  • Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth – half term Get Arty for families
  • King Edward VI Community College – KEVICC Art Group – weekly post school – Yrs7-9


  • Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth – half term Get Arty for families
  • King Edward VI Community College at the Ariel Centre – Movement in Art for whole school
  • Stover visit to artists’s studio at Combe Barton, Curtisknowle, Devon – Yrs 12 & 13
  • Kingsbridge Community College, Devon – Art for Challenge Week – Yrs 7-9
  • Blackawton Primary at Harbour House Gallery – Responses to artist show – Yrs 3 & 4
  • KEVICC at the Ariel Centre – Exhibition Responses – Yrs 7& 8 Gifted & Talented
  • Delamore House, Cornwood – Devon Artists Network Family Workshop
  • Salcombe Bunker, Devon – Family Art to Music
  • Combe Barton Studio – private adult workshops


  • Buckfast Butterfly Farm, Devon – Rainforest Riches for SWGaTE primary children
  • KEVICC at the Ariel Centre – Exhibition Responses – Yrs 12 & 13
  • Kingsbridge Community College – Boats – 210 Yr7s; Portraits – Yrs 12 & 13
  • KEVICC day trip to Private Studio – Yrs 12 & 13
  • Beaford Arts Centre, North Devon – 3-day residential – Landscape – Yr 6
  • Blackawton Primary School – The Sea for Yrs 2 & 3


  • Exeter City Library, Devon – Big Draw
  • Buckfast Butterfly Farm, Devon – Rainforest Riches for SWGaTE
  • TR2 Plymouth – Stowford, Manor, Ivybridge, Ermington Primaries – collaborative 6 week
  • Activate Art and Music
  • Heathcote Primary, Tiverton, Devon – Egyptians for Yrs 5 & 6


Workshops – Primary & Secondary education in Devon, (DAISI, SWGaTE/ enrichment, Helen Foundation); Plymouth Arts Centre – young mums in Barne Barton; weekly ‘Kitchen Table’ workshops for adults affected by mental health; tutor at Kilve Court residential enrichment programme, Somerset; private one- to-one art student sessions; facilitator for Open Box at KEVICC, Totnes.


Workshops – Grasmere primary school, Hackney, London.




Various sessions for Arts Lab CIC


Associate Lecturer – Plymouth University Institute of Education.


Artist in residence Plymouth College of Art – talks & workshops for Film, Painting, Drawing & Printmaking & Art Foundation students.


Art tutor – Carrboro Arts Centre & privately; English as Foreign Language for adults, North Carolina, USA.


Lecturer in Fine Art & Art History – Wirral Metropolitan College;

Tutor ‘A’ Level Art History & English as Foreign Language – Basil Paterson College, Edinburgh.


Visiting Fine Art lecturer – New York (Parsons Design School & Cooper Union), Vancouver (Emily Carr Inst.), Chile & Venezuela.


English as Foreign Language for adults – Budapest, Hungary.


Visiting Fine Art lecturer – Poland, Russia, Estonia & UK (incl. Royal Academy & Chelsea, Wimbledon, Gray’s & Duncan of Jordanstone Schools of Art).


Visiting Fine Art lecturer – Australia (9 art schools) & India.

Workshop Feedback

Regular weekly workshops for adults

“I’ve really enjoyed our course. It’s provided me with the space I needed to reconnect with my love of art and creating after 25 years away from drawing and painting. I found Sara to be full of encouragement and enthusiasm and I benefitted from learning about her approach to abstract art which was new to me.”


“Thank you so much for the inspirational workshops.”


“Sara’s workshops are amazing – she is an understanding, enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. The workshops can be quite intensive, but always fun and varied.”


Higher Education

“Thank you for welcoming the students to your studio and providing them with such a rich experience which I know they valued greatly.”

Julia Pope – Lecturer in Education (Art & Design), Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth University

“Sara has been an inspiration to students on the BEd Art and Design specialist pathway at Plymouth University bringing ‘fresh eyes’ to approaches that engage learners in developing visual art processes. What the art education students really like is Sara’s practical, ‘hands-on’ approach to workshops led with energy and enthusiasm! How exciting to be learning through actively exploring art and design practice together with Sara and in new and creative ways while developing an understanding of her colourful and innovative mixed-media artwork.”

Sadie Medway – Lecturer in Education (Art and Design), Plymouth Institute of Education

“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 – Co-Programme Leader: H.E. Film, Plymouth College of Art

“Thank you again for coming in and chatting to our students and for engaging us in a hands-on activity – it was brilliant! Hopefully we’ll get the chance to work together again in the future, you’re truly inspiring!”

Amanda Buckley – Lecturer H.E. Film, Plymouth College of Art

“This chance to start working with Sara is absolutely invaluable to me”

Georgia – assistant for “Creative Play” project – 3rd Year Fine Art Student, Plymouth University


“I’ve really enjoyed the sessions and found them to be great in helping me gain confidence. It’s been a lovely place to be and you’ve been a great teacher. I so appreciate all your support. Thank you!”


“I am extremely grateful to you for your help at such short notice Sara, it is a great relief to us.”

Louis’s parents

“Sara’s workshops are amazing – she is an understanding, enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. The workshops are fun and varied and can be quite intensive. They target precisely my needs and inspire me to work on useful skills, looking forward to the next session. Sara is also guiding me towards applying for degree courses in Illustration and helping me to assemble my Portfolio of work for the interview. Her encouragement and knowledge really help my confidence in taking this step.
Sara has made such a difference to me – she is a wonderful teacher and mentor.”


Primary & Secondary Education

“Sara has delivered a number of fantastic workshops at KEVICC. She is a talented artist and tutor who has a unique delivery style. She encourages students to experiment and express themselves thoughtfully. I would highly recommend her.”

Tim Wightman – Head of Art, King Edward VI Community College, Totnes, Devon

“Thank you so much for all the hard work and organisation you both have put into this – it is really exciting. It was a great project, both in terms of the seamless collaboration …. and the efficient organisation on your part. It’s been lovely working with you.”

Dawn Brumham – Business Manager, Teignmouth Local Learning Community (TLLC)

“We have enjoyed going round to the TLLC schools visiting Kip and Sara’s workshops. Some brilliant ideas there. We look forward to seeing the final exhibition on 16th July. Kip and Sara work really well together and with the young people. We have already received some excellent feedback from the children at OLSP – some of the best we have ever had – in the form of letters to the THF Trustees.”

Annie and Roger Kirk – Trustees of The Helen Foundation

“A massive thank you for yesterday. The art looks fantastic and the children had such a brilliant experience.”

School teacher – St Maurice Primary School, Plymouth

“Thank you to Sara for running the Art Enrichment Day for Kevicc students. It was a great opportunity for students to experiment with their own creative process in an artist studio space. All students had time to produce some excellent work and discuss their ideas on how to come up with imaginative outcomes.”

 Ben Moon – Art tutor, King Edward VI Community College, Totnes, Devon


“We both thought you were fabulous and absolutely the right person to lead these workshops!”

Laura Denning – Engagement Co-ordinator, Plymouth Arts Centre

“A HUGE thank you for running the sessions. I’m really pleased that you persisted and found some enthusiastic families to join the fun and I hope you know that we really do appreciate all of your hard work.”

Vickie Fear – Programme Co-ordinator, Plymouth Arts Centre

“They loved being able to let their children loose with art materials. They enjoyed getting “arty” with their children. All of the mums said that they would love to see more groups like this.”

Assistant at “Creative Play” – Tamar Folk at The Barn, Barne Barton, Plymouth

Mental Health

“George has been on tremendous form – very expressive and talkative. Brilliant! Your workshops have been the turning point. So many thanks.
Thank you so much for the inspirational workshops. George and I are so enjoying the sessions. They are the best thing to have happened since his relapse nine years ago. He has been in denial for so long … . Up till now he has been unable to communicate with others suffering or recovering from mental illness, or anyone else for that matter. He is also so pleased to be with younger people as the other things he does are all with the elderly.”


“This has transformed Helen’s life, now she has friends for the first time in years it is helping her come to terms with life. People with learning difficulties or no hopers seem to be catered for, but many, as in our group, are highly intelligent and feel neglected.
It was most inspiring, and an amazing result. This is the first time Helen has considered anything just for pleasure, not involved in desperately trying to get back to unsuitable financial type jobs. To get her thinking outside the box is wonderful.”

Helen’s mother

“A group of adults who are all either carers for those with mental health problems or dealing with their own individual challenges have been greatly benefitting from weekly art classes with Sara.
Having been struggling myself with various mental health difficulties spanning many years, I have found the safe space of the group, the excellent facilitation, guidance and support from Sara with the opportunity and encouragement to be creative a very valuable tool in my recovery. The safety/support/encouragement found in this group/workshop is a rare find when one is embarking on a journey of recovery/self-discovery and is a valuable asset to the Mental Health Community and indeed the Community of South Brent.”


“I joined the art workshop to support my adult son who is recovering from a mental health problem. It is helping him enormously, and in a climate of severe cuts in the NHS, it is the only therapy group in our area.”


Room 13 at KEVICC – The Open Box

“This Room 13 proposal sounds very exciting ….. good luck with it all. Please keep us informed about the progress. Plymouth Uni has had strong links with KEVICC in the past. ….. I think between us all we might be able to foster links that could help the students. Most importantly at the moment though is you and your innovative and enthusiastic ideas, Sara.!

Sadie Medway – Lecturer in Education (Art and Design), Plymouth Institute of Education

“Really excited by this…”

Tim Wightman – Head of Art at KEVICC, Totnes

“We were all really impressed by what The Open Box has already achieved, and especially that it’s a group being run by the students for the students.”

Parents Association – KEVICC, Totnes

Comments from Buyers

“One of the first artworks I ever bought was a mixed media piece by Sara. It is still with me and it still delights me with the subtlety and vibrancy of its many layers. Sara’s pieces sing.”

Stephen Hough (New York & London)

“I think they are fascinating. They involve so many things: drawing, composition, colour, quotations and typography. You have a terrific ability to organise shapes across the flat surface. Always engaging, always new.”

Martin Bedford (France)

“We have 3 of your paintings. All have graced our walls since you were in Chapel Hill, giving us much pleasure.”

Dale Purves (North Carolina, USA)

“I am truly delighted to have (your painting) as I am a fan of your work.”

Simon Dobbs (Devon, UK)

“I am so happy to have received your painting here in Switzerland. It looks so nice on my wall.”

Nicole Goumaz (Geneva, Switzerland)

“I have three paintings of Sara’s from different periods of her career and they are undoubtedly the most special pieces of art in our house. I have always loved her use of colour, shape and texture (deceptively simple) and even after years of living with her paintings I have never grown tired of looking at or living with them.”

Emily Hatchwell (Bath, UK)

“Our picture is one of the first things we put up when we moved; it makes the house feel like home. I love the way I can always see it afresh.”

Dave Strudwick (Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Devon, UK)

“I enjoy your little picture very much, it is complete in itself, doesn’t need to be part of a sequence, has good colour and great words.”

Anne Collier (Devon, UK)

“The work is like the artist herself – sparkling with polish, charm and inventiveness, with a great sense of discipline and craft.”

Alistair Lomax (Oxford, UK)

“Even my mother-in-law dresses to suit the colours in your painting/collage which has added a warm glow and harmony to our home for many years now!”

Pia Jasinski (Gdansk, Poland)

“I’ve followed the development of Sara’s work for nearly 40 years as she has travelled around the world from the Baltic to the USA and UK. I acquired two of her paintings from contrasting periods of her oeuvre – early Budapest and more recently, Devon. In each, I see her vibrancy, energy and rich, dark emotional tones, all surfacing through paint and mixed media. People who love Sara love her paintings, taking a little bit of her each time into their homes.”

Helen Walker (Northumberland, UK)

“Knowing Sara has made me love her art work even more. Underneath the quiet, uniform exterior lies a complex series of layers, thus giving the artwork texture and personality (of which Sara has in abundance). The pieces that I own are both very special and make my bare walls come to life!”

Louise Oldridge (Devon, UK)

“I’ve been a collector of Sara’s art since we first met in 1994 in Edinburgh. Her playful use of form, media and colour, whether it’s suggesting the countryside of Scotland or a Purple Trumpet, create a multi-layered perspective of the subject matter that is never stagnant. Each time I look at a piece, I find a nuance I missed previously. Large or small scale, her work is always both dynamic and a soothing balm for the artistic soul.”

Tina Magnuson (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

“Your paintings are part of our lives. We bought a number of them for our beach home overlooking Puget Sound and for our condo in San Francisco. They greatly enhance any space and we thoroughly enjoy all of them.”

Janet Whitt (San Francisco & Washington DC, USA)

“Sara explores and pushes the boundaries of abstraction, combining pattern, shape and colour to produce a truly impressive and intriguing body of work. Always moving, never standing still. Being an artist is a tough grind and you make it look easy.”

Janet Mitchell (Devon, UK)

“An evocative entertainment for the eye.”

Ian Carr (Devon, UK)


28th December 2020 Devon Live ‘Dartmoor Prisoners are finding their voice through art’ by Paul GrievesArtist Sara Downham-Lotto is working with prisoners on an innovative arts project.