About Us

Light and Inspiration Appeal

World-class art in exceptional spaces, for everyone

On the eve of its 175th anniversary, the RWA is launching an urgent appeal to secure its future and save the galleries from major structural failure.

This £3.5 million project will restore the beautiful galleries and welcome spaces and enrich our learning programmes.

What will the Light and Inspiration Appeal achieve?

  • Make urgent repairs to save the RWA’s Grade II* listed galleries from catastrophic failure.
  • Bring world-class art and exhibitions to Bristol, attracting 40% more visitors and community users to the RWA.
  • Extend RWA’s celebrated community and wellbeing programmes so more vulnerable and isolated people can find enjoyment through art and creativity.
  • Deliver a step-change in financial and environmental sustainability.

 “Without this project there is a real risk the RWA would have to close its doors.”  Alison Bevan, RWA Director 

How will the £3.5 million secure the future of the RWA?

  • Replace the original sky-light windows above the main galleries with new thermally-insulated lanterns, enabling the world’s finest artworks to be seen in Bristol’s stunning, purpose-built gallery
  • Mitigate extreme temperatures, from sweltering summer heat to icy cold, vastly improving the experience for visitors and volunteers
  • Strengthen the roof and upgrade the building to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs
  • Sensitively remodel the façade, with new entrances and lighting to engage more visitors and create a truly welcoming environment
  • Transform the forecourt into a vibrant outdoor creative and social space
  • Provide unaided access to all galleries for the first time including a new passenger lift
  • Enlarge the cafe, retail and greeting spaces to be warm and inviting
  • Introduce advanced technology for on-site marketing and e-commerce
  • Invest in more community exhibitions and learning programmes, starting with exciting plans during the period when the galleries will be closed for repair.

 “In our 175-year history, tens of thousands of people have exhibited their work here, from famous artists – ranging from Turner to Turner Prize Winners – to emerging artists and schoolchildren. The RWA’s Light and Inspiration Appeal will ensure future generations can see world-class artworks, be inspired and encouraged to explore their own creativity." Stewart Geddes, Past RWA President

To find out about supporting this appeal please click here.
 

About the RWA in general

The RWA – Bristol's first art gallery – is proud to bring world-class visual art from around the world to the South West.  

Our vision is to be the South West’s leading centre for the exhibition, exploration and practice of the visual arts, recognised as a place that enriches and nourishes the lives of people from all communities and backgrounds.

Located in a spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city, the RWA is the UK's only regional Royal Academy of Art - one of five in total, alongside those in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and London - and is the only one housed in its own, original, purpose-built gallery.

Through its extensive programme of exhibitions, events, talks and lectures, the RWA is committed to providing great art for everybody, and to promoting the understanding and enjoyment of art for the widest possible audience.

Uniquely to Bristol, exhibitions at the RWA always feature work by leading contemporary artists (including the RWA’s own Academicians) alongside great works from the past, opening up new and surprising contexts and discussions.

Engagement and learning are vital to the work and future of the RWA. Through the activities of the Learning and Participation team, and the outstanding workshops and courses offered by the RWA Drawing School, the RWA aims to nurture artistic talent and champion creative endeavour.

The RWA is an entirely independent charity (1070163), and would like to thank Bristol City Council for their support, providing 1.5% of our core budgets (our sole form of public subsidy).

You can explore the archive of some of the wonderful exhibitions that have been held at the RWA here

Bristol Equality Charter

We are proud to be signed up to the Bristol Equality Charter. As a partner, we share an ambition to create a fairer, safer, accessible and inclusive city where everyone feels they belong, has a voice and an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.

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