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?
Over 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 does 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?
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!
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