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Speaker Meeting Monday 12th February 2024: Welcome to our Regional President and The History of the Royal West of England Academy  – by Alison Bevan, Director/CEO



We welcomed our Margaret Parkinson our Regional President  who joined us at our Speaker Meeting .  Thank you Margaret is was lovely seeing you here in Bristol.




Alison Bevan, Director/CEO gave a  fascinating talk about the history of Royal West of England Academy (RWA). 



The RWA is Bristol’s first Art Gallery, described by Sir Nicholas Serota as one of the most beautiful galleries in the country. 

The RWA began its existence in 1844 at the instigation of a woman artist, Ellen Sharples for the promotion of Fine Arts. It soon became an important and well-regarded art institution. One of the main activities has been to hold an Open Exhibition, with a brief break during the Second World War (when the building was requisitioned for use by GI’s stationed in Bristol). The annual exhibition has shown thousands of artworks by amateur artists as well as artworks by leading artists. Today they present a year-round exhibition programme.  

They have recently undergone their largest project in over a century, commencing in June 2021, completing in May 2022. The Light and Inspirational Appeal enabled them to make significant changes to the building, delivering improvements and making it much more accessible and welcoming to all.