Leith School of Art was set up in 1988 by two art teachers, Mark and Lottie Cheverton.  

Their aim was to establish a supportive, community learning environment for art students. The Chevertons ran the School together for three years, offering a Foundation course and a range of short courses. They recognised that studying art could be a challenging experience and they wanted to create a positive tradition for teaching art and a learning environment where students would feel nurtured and grow in their ability.

Their vision grew out of their wide experience of teaching art and from their religious faith. 

Tragically in 1991, the Chevertons were killed in a car accident. It was clear that their original vision of teaching was a strong one, and in 1992 Philip Archer, one of their close friends who shared their vision, became Principal.  Philip retired at the end of August 2019 and Nicholas Devison took on the role of Principal in January 2020.

Since that time the School has grown and evolved. New year-long courses have been added, the short course programme has expanded, there are community classes and dedicated courses for schools within the School’s Outreach Programme. There are approximately forty members of staff, including around thirty teaching and teaching support staff. The School building has grown, expanding to fill all the interior spaces in the building. In 2000 all the outside space around the School was converted to inside space, resulting in the addition of the sculpture court, library and gallery area. 

In 2014 the School expanded again by leasing space at St James Church, which is located close to the School on North Junction Street. It is a lovely 1930s church hall with two bright, spacious studio spaces and an outdoor area.

Throughout all this change, the vision of the original founders remains strong: to create a School with a vital artistic life where both tradition and innovation work together allowing students to produce work of distinctive quality and character.