The group bought fishing lofts along Porthmeor beach to use as artists' studios, after an acrimonious split from the established St Ives Society of Artists. Then on 8 February 1949, after a town meeting at the Castle Inn, a dissident group set up shop in Fore street, St Ives. In 1960 and old pilchard factory was taken over with converted studios above. After ten years of sincere guidance and deep interest, funds raised by Barbara Hepworth, with the aim of converting adjacent buildings into studios for craft and sculpture as well as painting expanded the project still further at Back Road, St Ives. In 1967 Kathleen Watkins was appointed curator and secretary (1967-2013) of the society advising, among other things, clients on potential purchases.