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RWA Bristol wins lottery grant

The Royal West of England Academy art gallery, Bristol

One of Bristol’s finest art galleries has managed to ensure its future in the city after winning nearly £10,000 of lottery funded money.

The money is planned to be used on the maintenance of the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) art gallery’s roof, which is currently falling into disrepair. Without the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund the gallery would have been working on a tight budget when attempting to save the Grade II listed building.

This is not the first time the RWA has received money to improve its facilities. In 2015 the gallery was awarded an Arts Council England Museum Resilience grant of £124,000 to be distributed over three years. The purpose of this was to boost the online presence of the RWA whilst also allowing the gallery to make new connections with other businesses and artists. From this grant, the new RWA website was born and today, in the third year, the project looks to continue to fund a business development manager role as well as adding additional exhibitions to the gallery.

The grant, however, could not be used to maintain the property itself and the more recent donation is the lifeline RWA needed to fund a team of design specialists who can repair the two Victorian roofs back to their former glory. It is of the utmost importance that the job is completed to the highest standard as the artwork hanging below requires the right environment to remain in pristine condition.

For around a month in 2009, world-renowned street artist Banksy returned to Bristol for an incredible display in the Bristol Museum

Bristol is well known for its art and over the years the city has made a reputation for possessing both cultural diversity and openness to the street art scene. Banksy, one of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, was born and grew up in Bristol and he often returns to the South West with a surprise or two. The RWA has attempted to make connections with locals through a variety of exhibitions, from Caribbean culture to its annual open exhibition which is now in its 165th year. To compete and keep up with the connections that the Bristol Museum and other galleries can make, grants are a vital part to keeping overheads low and to allow more money to be spent on the art, rather than maintaining the building.

After being opened in 1858, the RWA deserves the money to remain on the map in Bristol’s growing art scene. Its prime location and stunning range of artistic talent is something that most galleries in Bristol are envious of, and with the future secure for the gallery it is going to be an exciting few years for one of the oldest exhibitions in the city.