Our team

Founder & Creative Director
Sara Downham-Lotto

Sara is an abstract painter with over 30 years’ experience working in studios and exhibiting in the UK, pre- and post cold war Poland and Clinton’s America. Trained in Fine Art and Art History in London, Manchester and Glasgow, her teaching has taken her to colleges around the UK and abroad. From Estonia to Canada, Chile to Australia, her experience working across diverse communities - always painting - has taught her more than any formal education could hope to achieve. This has shaped her drive to encourage collaboration and creative thinking and making through learning, through life and through art. In 2018 Sara was awarded a Fellowship for the School for Social Entrepreneurs. She also joined the steering group for the Dartington Collaborative Network.

Non-Executive Director & Kids' Clubs
Sophy D’Angelo

Sophy is an artist educator with over 20 years experience of art practice in a range of media. She has been with Arts Lab since the autumn of 2017. A graduate in Art and Social Context from the University of the West of England, her passion is to facilitate visual arts engagement across broad-ranging groups as a tool for empowerment. Before now, she has worked for organisations such as Thames Festival, Kids Company, Tate Modern and Dulwich Picture Gallery. Sophy also currently teaches art and photography at the South Devon Steiner School.

Film & media course co-ordinator
Craig Whyte

Craig works in film, animation and photography and continues his research into new media technologies to help enhance storytelling and interactive learning. With 20 years’ experience working in the film industry, Craig also teaches technical skills to film and animation students at Plymouth University. ‘My vision for Arts Lab is to set up a Film and Animation community hub, whereby members of the community can hire out the space to make films and to sign up to an extensive range of Film Pre/Production/Post Production courses. A long term ambition is to set up a Live Local Film & TV Channel to promote local businesses and events.’ Learn more about Craig on www.craigwhyte.co.uk

Publicity & marketing volunteer
Nat Crooks

Nat is a nurse who happens to love art and wants to get some creativity back into her life. Until now, she hasn’t made time for it since being at school. In spring 2019 she wrote: ‘I want to be more creative in my spare time and volunteering at Arts Lab seemed a good first step. Since working with the team and doing some of my own creative making at the Making Mondays workshops, my confidence to create art again has grown and I feel valued in what I have to offer as a volunteer.’

Artist Associate & publicity volunteer
Anna Donaldson

Anna is a young artist who has been involved with Arts Lab right from the beginning in a variety of roles - as a student at Making Mondays and other workshops, as an assistant and facilitator at workshops, as an exhibitor and as social media facilitator. She is an enthusiastic advocate of the Arts Lab ethos and of Arts Lab itself. This is reflected in the vibrancy and creativity of her individual art work.

Artist associate & photographer
Klara Ferm

Klara, 23, is just about to finish her bachelor degree in Photography at Plymouth College of Art. During her first year at PCA in the spring of 2017, she did a work placement day at Arts Lab and has been taking photographs for them ever since. Whilst working with Arts Lab she hopes to make connections with new and interesting people as well as developing her skills as a photographer.

Artist associate & assistant on Great Prison Art Exchange
Chris Sargent

A recent graduate of the Drawing, Painting and Printmaking honours course at Plymouth College of Art, Chris is currently working with Sara on The Great Prison Art Exchange project at Dartmoor Prison - ‘This is a fantastic project that I feel privileged to be a part of’. His original involvement with the project was through the PPD (professional practice development) programme at PCA. Chris has been supporting the project at Dartmoor since autumn 2018.

Artist Associate
Holly Nevill

Holly is a local creative interested in bringing people together through making and conversation around recycled objects and materials. She has just joined the Lab hoping to build on her experience running workshops and exploring collaborative practice. ‘With Arts Lab, I hope to help make an exciting, experimental space that is accessible to everyone who has the desire to create. My next collaboration will be with sculptor and friend who is soon to be graduating from Wimbledon College of Art. We are both interested in how sculpture can come alive when combined with the movement of the human body and photography. Watch this space for upcoming workshops and an interactive exhibition.’

Steering group
Ali Roscoe

Ali has a background in education and has spent over 35 years working in schools and communities delivering her innovative projects. These projects have taken place in varied settings, involving participants of every age and ability. She has worked with a wide range of organisations across the arts, environmental and heritage sectors, offering consultation, mentoring and training. ‘Thank goodness my week now includes Making Mondays at Arts Lab. I always come away buzzing with new ideas and with my creativity topped up for another week.’ Ali has been a valued steering group member since the Spring of 2017.

Steering group
Michael Cadys

Michael went to art school in the late 1960s, the experience of which, he says, influenced everything he’s done since. ‘Arts Lab is a reconfirmation of my belief that being creative alongside other creative people can change your life. My career was mostly as an editor, largely managerial, in publishers including Dorling Kindersley and David & Charles. I also taught on a ground-breaking multimedia course at Plymouth University, and was a consultant to the publishing industry, among other things.’ Michael has been a valued steering group member since the Spring of 2017.

Steering group
Ness Turner

Ness is ‘committed to supporting the project making a real difference to people’s lives as it has done mine’. Thanks to her involvement with the Lab – taking part in workshops, being an interim director and an invaluable member of the steering group since the Spring of 2017 – she took the mid-life decision to be an artist! Ness is now loving her time on the Art Foundation Course in Totnes.