The outside of the RWA building

Our mission is for the RWA to be somewhere that everyone - from leading artists to first time gallery visitors - feels welcomed, valued and engaged

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A British Sign Language Tour taking place in the gallery space

The RWA includes guided tours by Chisato Minamimura from a Deaf perspective using British Sign Language

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School children at an RWA led workshop in the gallery space

The gallery is committed to offering high-quality experiences for learners of all ages, and to sharing our passion for visual art with visitors

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The gallery space during the Summer exhibition 2022: Earth: Digging Deep in British Art 1781 - 2022

The RWA's 2022 Summer show: Earth, Digging Deep in British Art 1781-2022 is the final instalment of the RWA's element series and discusses how attitudes towards the landscape have evolved over time

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The RWA gallery space showing art with an oak bench in the foreground

We aim to enhance everyones well being through creativity, regardless of any challenges life has presented to them

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An image of a woman and child taking part in a RWA workshop

Engagement and learning are vital to the work and future of the RWA

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The RWA Art Studio is home to the RWA Drawing School

The RWA aims to nurture artistic talent through workshops and courses by the RWA Drawing School

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The Methuen Gallery in the RWA

We strive to showcase world-class art of the past and present in exhibitions that are accessible to the widest range of people

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The new cafe in the RWA building with a large food counter and seating

The RWA strives to enhance the lives of all those who choose to become part of our community

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The family Activity Space in the RWA is a free to access space for everyone

The building has recently completed a £4.5m transformation and the addition of free to access spaces like the Family Activity Space

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The new Changing Places Facility at the RWA

The RWA building has recently undergone a landmark transformation - opening up access for all

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The Sharples gallery in the RWA

The RWA is a place for everyone to feel inspired

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The RWA foyer in the grade listed building

The RWA has been bringing art to the South West since 1844

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The roof lanterns in the RWA gallery

The RWA aims to embed the well being of people, place and planet in every aspect of our work

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The Sharples Gallery space during the Annual Open Exhibition

The Annual Open Exhibition is a celebration of all art types, and a key part of the RWA's programme

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"One of the most beautiful places in which to look at art in this country" - Sir Nicolas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

Welcome to the RWA – Bristol's first art gallery. We are proud to bring world-class visual art from around the world to the South West and we have done so since 1844. 

Our vision is to be be a place that welcomes, inspires and enriches the lives of all people from all communities and all backgrounds through Art and Creativity.

Located in a spectacular Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city, the RWA is the UK's only Royal Academy of Art housed in its own, original, purpose-built gallery. In 2021, the building completed a £4.8m transformation - opening up access for all. We provide opportunities for everybody to get creative and feel inspired.

You can read more about the impact of our Light & Inspiration project here.

As a result of the project, the RWA prides itself in being accessible to all. This includes a full Changing Places Toilet Facility; a large family room full of creative things for children to enjoy, and specialist activities, such as BSL interpretation, sighted-guide and touch-tours, and monthly teatime tours for those living with dementia and their carers (see here for more information).

Through its extensive programme of exhibitions, events, workshops, 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. This includes activities across Bristol, including some of its most underserved areas, as well as in the RWA's own building.

Exhibitions at the RWA always feature work by leading contemporary artists (including the RWA’s own Academicians) alongside great works from the past, often brought to the city and region for the first time, 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), unusual in that it has no public subsidy, dependent on ticket and other earned income, as well as to our Patrons, Friends, Sponsors and all those who provide invaluable support.

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

RWA's Mission

Our mission is welcome, inspire and encourage people from all communities by showcasing world class art of the past and present; celebrating excellence, and giving opportunities to aspiring and emerging artists and curators. To nurture creativity for all, through our learning programme, community partnerships and Drawing School, and embed the wellbeing of people, place and planet in every aspect of everything we do, establishing the RWA as an accessible and dynamic flagship for the transformative power of creativity.

Anti-Racist Practice Statement

We are committed to making the RWA a safe, welcoming and inspiring place for everyone. We recognise that we have not made enough progress yet. We acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to ensure our programme, exhibitions and collection, as well as our staff, volunteers and board, are all reflective of the diversity of Bristol today. We are committed to sustained change in our organisation and to making the RWA an anti-racist organisation in a sustained, continuous, meaningful way for the long-term.

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.


Bristol Equality Charter
 RWA is proud to be the 2022 Gold Award winner with the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance for supporting to make Bristol the dementia friendly city of the UK.Bristol City Council


Your Visit

Times, prices, directions and more

Tickets and Art Passes

Find out more about our tickets and memberships

Support Us

Find out how you can support us as a registered charity


Help enrich the lives of people from all communities and backgrounds with art

Our Community

We learn a huge amount from the creative individuals we work with on projects often connected to RWA exhibitions

What's On

Experience art exhibitions, events, art classes and family workshops at Bristol's first art gallery and across the city