Sunday 4 October 2015

Royal West of England Academy

This is the first of my posts profiling art societies in the UK.

I've chosen the Royal West of England Academy as its 163rd Annual Exhibition opens today in Bristol. It continues until 29th November at Royal West of England Academy Queen's Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PX

Basic facts about the society are reported below - together with my comments in grey italics. Quotes from the website - are shown as quotes.

Royal West of England Academy

The front of the Royal West of England Academy
Photograph by Linda Bailey [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Society

This is the only regional  Royal Academy of Art. It's also a charity and receives funding via the Arts Council England's Museum resilience funding.
  • Founded: It started as Bristol's first art gallery. Organisations which merged and became the RWA started in the 19th century. The History Page provides an account of a complicated history involving various organisations and timescales but it could be clearer and I found it odd that it's unclear when the RWA got its royal charter
  • Purpose
The RWA’s aim is to provide an inclusive programme of exhibitions, events and workshops in order to enhance the knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of art for the widest possible audience.
  • Patrons/ Friends / Volunteers: The RWA has all of these - and is keen to recruit more. See the page about 'Support us'. Friends of the RWA have their own website

Artist members

  • Membership:  The Academy has 150 Academicians who are elected by their peers. Membership is by application and selection twice a year. see 
  • Subscription: £120 annual membership (can be paid monthly)


  • Gallery / Based: Bristol - Queen's Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1PX (link to google map)
  • Entry: free to all under 16, registered students, Patrons, Friends and Art Fund members. Charge of £5 for all adults due to the fact the RWA is self-supporting.
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm; Sundays: 11am - 5pm. Closed on Mondays
  • Eat and drinkCafe on the premises

Exhibitions & Events

  • Annual exhibitions since the middle of the 19th century. This year is the 163rd Annual Open. 
    • Annual Autumn Open exhibition is the largest Open Submission exhibition in the South West. In 2014 this included 546 works by 346 artists. Submission is digital and the Online Submission Page is
    • also holds also holds open exhibitions focusing on specific disciplines such as Photography, Sculpture and Printmaking
    • Biennial exhibition for drawing
    • see images from previous exhibitions on Flickr
    • exhibition archive is odd as it only shows you the archive for each month of past years rather than the major exhibitions from past years categorised by year and then an archive for more minor shows by month/year (As navigation I found it confusing and I don't think it works)
    • Artists can also submit a proposal for an exhibition to be held in the galleries.
The RWA welcomes exhibition proposals from artists, independent curators and practitioners.
  • EventsList of events in 2015 (by month - i.e. no quick glance and repetitive clicking to see everything on in eg next six months) and 2016 (again by month - no quick summary of major events) plus an archive for past years.


  • The RWA run an extensive programme of educational activities and learning opportunities for adults, families and children. 
The RWA has signed up to the Kids in Museums manifesto as part of our commitment to making family visits more enjoyable.
  • Talks and Demonstrations: see events

RWA Online

The Royal West of England Academy Online - Alternative Perspectives

Below you can review other profiles of the RWA and reviews of its activities and exhibitions.

General Reviews

Exhibition reviews


  • Eventbrite - list of all upcoming and ticketed events at the RWA

Permanent Collection

Saturday 26 September 2015

Introducing Art Societies in the UK

This post introduces a new site - 'Art Societies in the UK'.

The Union Jack flying in the Mall outside the Mall Galleries
- Home of the Federation of British Artists
This is a combined website and blog which aims to provide a comprehensive compendium of art societies in the UK - for artists and art lovers alike.

 It replaces another site I developed a while back which has been offline for a while.

The Pages of this site are dedicated to lists of the art societies by:

National Art Societies


In due course it will also cover other art societies in the rest of the UK. I'll also be developing information about the art societies along the lines of that developed for those located in Greater London (see link above)

It will also eventually include information and advice about:
  • art society exhibitions,  
  • websites, blogging and social media for art societies
  • art society activities notified to this site.
In the future, I'll also be highlighting an invitation to submit details about the art exhibitions of art societies, art groups and art clubs in the UK in a future post.