Izabella Scott
              Cornwall’s picturesque fishing villages, tearooms, and sandy beaches attract 15 million visitors a year, and its southern coastline is dubbed—only half-jokingly—the Cornish Riviera. Part of its attraction derives from art: in the 1930s, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Patrick Heron, Naum Gabo, and other leading modernists established a colony in St Ives, transforming the coastal town into an internationally recognized hub of the avant-garde. If tourism now contributes around £2.6 billion to the area annually, it also breeds discontent (“emmets”—“the ants”—is an old Cornish nickname for non-locals). The decline of mining and finishing industries throughout the twentieth century have left Cornwall the second poorest region in Northern Europe, with some of the worst deprived neighborhoods in England. But recent years have also seen an influx of arts funding to the region, from both local and national governments. Tate St Ives reopened in late 2017 after a £20 million redevelopment, while smaller venues such as Kestle Barton, a gallery and farmstead on the Lizard peninsula, have improved their spaces and launched more ambitious exhibitions. Against a backdrop of contentious debates about the role of art in Britain’s deprived communities in an era of austerity, Groundwork—a five-months-long season of art in multiple venues …

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