Help Us Light up Lives with Art

by RWA (Royal West of England Academy) in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

We did it
On 28th March 2022 we successfully raised £100,449 ( + est. £2401.50 Gift Aid ) with 270 supporters in 35 days

Help us raise £100,000 to make Bristol’s beautiful RWA the most accessible art gallery between St Ives and London! And double your donation

by RWA (Royal West of England Academy) in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

The RWA (Royal West of England Academy of Art), one of the most beautiful galleries in the country, is now being transformed to make it accessible for everyone.

We are in the final stages of our biggest transformation in over a century – our £4.1M Light & Inspiration project – which will make this outstanding building the most accessible art gallery between St Ives and London.

We’ve raised nearly four million pounds, but the Covid pandemic and supply issues have brought cost increases and delays. We MUST now raise the last £100,000 by April to finish the work.

WHAT is the project doing?

1645025200_architects_image_feb_2022.jpgOver recent years, we’ve built our community across Bristol by listening to what’s needed by people experiencing wellbeing challenges ranging from economic disadvantage to all kinds of disability. As a result, we’re installing:

  • A huge new lift capable of carrying up to four wheelchair users and their carers.
  • A full Changing Places facility, with adult hoist, changing table and wet room, essential for those with profound and severe disabilities to be able to visit
  • A family activity space with resources to create your own masterpiece, whatever your age
  • A quiet space for people with sensory issues or autism
  • Huge new glass doors across our façade, welcoming new visitors into our building
  • Free-to-access facilities throughout the building, to allow everyone – from young families to people with dementia – to unleash their creative talent
  • New ground-floor toilets, including a second wheelchair accessible toilet, as well as the new Changing Places and existing baby-change facility on the lower ground floor
  • And a big new café and outdoor social space, with wildlife-friendly planting, making the RWA a hub for the whole community.

Meanwhile, we’re massively decreasing environmental impact by reducing energy use and eliminating carbon fuels from our heating and lighting, while making the galleries cooler in summer and warmer in winter.


WHO doe1645022717_1.jpgs it benefit?

Our mission is for the RWA to be somewhere that everyone feels welcomed, valued and nourished.

We want the work that we do within and beyond our extraordinary building to inspire people, and to enhance their wellbeing through creativity, regardless of any challenges life has presented to them.

We’re proud to be a part of people’s lives across Bristol, and to have built meaningful partnerships with individuals and communities representing a huge variety of people, including:

  • Intergenerational families across the city
  • Young people with limited access to positive arts activities, including Roma young people
  • Adults and older people experiencing mental health challenges, learning disabilities, dementia and social isolation
  • People with visual and hearing impairments
  • Neurodiverse children and adults
  • Non-traditional gallery audiences from the widest range of communities and backgrounds across Bristol
  • Local schools and HE and FE students


WHY do we need your help?

Thanks to so many generous supporters, from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to a host of individuals, we’ve done amazingly well, raising more than we originally thought we’d need.

However, the current unprecedented circumstances have caused major problems, including significant issues in both the supply chain and cost of materials; multiplication of lead-times on essential components, and a workforce decimated by both the 'pingdemic' and the exodus of European tradesmen.

Now, as we’re racing to complete the project and reopen our doors, we urgently need to raise a further £200,000, half of which we hope will come from applications to Trusts and Foundations, but we urgently need your help to raise the remainder.


HOW can you help?

1. Donate 

Your donation is SO important to us, and every pound will help us to light up lives with art for generations to come.

2. Follow Us

Help us raise awareness by following our social media pages and sharing the campaign with your followers. You can find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, plus you can subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our happenings.

3. Spread the Word

PLEASE do tell your friends about us, and encourage them to support.  A personal recommendation or explanation about why you think our work is worth supporting can make all the difference.


WHAT will the funds support?


Your donations will enable us to finish the project with all those essential touches to make the difference. For example:

  • £20 will pay for creative and sensory objects for the family activity space
  • £60 will help us to provide display space for our outreach partners from communities across Bristol.
  • £150 would go towards beautiful new gallery seating, essential for some visitors.

Thanks to a generous local family trust, every donation through this crowdfunder will be matched, pound for pound.

This means that your money will be worth twice as much! If you donate £25, it will be worth £50 to our project!

And it means we need to raise £50,000 in donations to hit our target of £100,000.

If you love art, please help us bring world-class art to our exceptional spaces for everyone.

Please give what you can, and remember that the value of your donation will be worth twice what you give! Together we can make the RWA the most welcoming art gallery imaginable!

Thank you.

With thanks to our Fundraising Appeal Sponsors:

Sarah Kenny Residential Lettings
Smith & Williamson

and thank you to PHD Property for the drone footage in our video


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

Thank you and online mention

Donors at this level will receive our grateful thanks and an online mention, acknowledging their donation

£10 or more

20 of 150 claimed

RWA Tote bag

A brightly coloured RWA branded tote bag, with the RWA logo in white - and some postcard goodies inside

£15 or more

RWA Art Pass

A year of art! The RWA Art Pass gives unlimited free entry to all the exhibitions at the RWA for a year, including Me, Myself, I: Artists' Self-Portraits; Earth: Digging Deep in British Art (1781-2022) and the RWA's renowned Annual Open Exhibition, now in its 169th iteration.

£20 or more

27 of 40 claimed

Cake and Curator Tour: Me, Myself, I

Enjoy delicious cake, followed by an informative tour of Me, Myself, I: Artists' Self-Portraits with one of the exhibition's curators (date in May to be confirmed)

£50 or more

6 of 12 claimed

Collage and Cava

A fun-filled, creative and sociable workshop in the new RWA Drawing School Studio, with a glass (or two) of bubbly (or non alcoholic alternative) to aid the creative process. Tuesday 17 May 2022 (evening)

£150 or more

14 of 20 claimed

New limited edition print by Trevor Haddrell RWA

A signed and numbered print of a brand new work by RWA Academician, Trevor Haddrell, inspired by the view of the sky through the RWA roof lanterns, and the Light and Inspiration project. You will receive one of the first 20 of a limited edition of 75 of these unique wood engraving prints (approx 30cm x 30cm) by this popular artist.

£300 or more

Patron for a year

Become a Bronze Patron for a year. Enjoy a host of special RWA events, including a convivial lunch in the galleries and exclusive access to artists, curators and exhibitions

£450 or more

1 of 6 claimed

Exclusive Visit to the Studio of Eileen Cooper RA

A visit to the studio of past Keeper of the Royal Academy, Eileen Cooper RA, who was the first woman in the role. You and your guest will be welcomed by Eileen to her studio on Saturday 14 May, in London, accompanied by RWA Director, Alison Bevan (transport not included)

£1,000 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Host an event in the RWA's stunning galleries

Use of the RWA's stunning main galleries for an evening event, with an introduction to the exhibition by a curator (catering not included)

£5,000 or more

Circle of Light & Inspiration donor + Gold Patron

Join our Circle of Light and Inspiration donors, credited in the entrance lobby of the RWA; plus Gold Patrons membership for a year, which includes free entry to all exhibitions for you and up to three guests, invitation to an exclusive viewing of each exhibition in advance of general opening; out-of-hours and/or behind-the-scenes access by arrangement; a personal tour of each major exhibition led by the Director and/or exhibition curator

£100 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Light and Inspiration: the reveal

A private tour, led by RWA Director Alison Bevan, of the newly transformed RWA, just days before we open the doors to the public, with refreshments (afternoon of Tuesday 26 April)

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