For 250 years, the RA has existed to champion art and artists. This year, we’ve opened up our newly expanded campus with free displays, new spots to eat, drink and shop, and much more.
The RA was founded in 1768 by a group of 40 artists and architects who became the first Royal Academicians. The first president was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose statue now stands outside Burlington House.
Over the past 250 years, we’ve moved house several times, elected hundreds of new RAs and even survived the Blitz – all while continuing to stage an annual Summer Exhibition, elect new members and champion art and architecture in all its forms. Read our exceptional story here.
To celebrate our 250th anniversary, we’ve unveiled our newly expanded campus, with more space than ever before to make, debate and exhibit art.
The new RA has a link between our Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens galleries for the first time, a new lecture theatre, and an expanded RA Schools giving our students more space to create.
We’re run by the Royal Academicians, artists and architects elected by their peers in recognition of their exceptional work. We’re home to Britain’s longest established art school, the RA Schools. Every year since 1768 we’ve held an annual Summer Exhibition, the largest open-submission art exhibition in the world. We present our collection of art and architecture in free displays throughout our home on Piccadilly. And we put on world-class exhibitions of art from around the world, welcoming hundreds of thousands of people to our galleries each year.
We have a lot in common with museums and other galleries, but as an Academy, we have a broader role – to promote not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but also its practice.
Just as our founders intended, we are still led by many of the greatest artists and architects of the day. Each Royal Academician must be a practicing artist, elected by their peers in recognition of their work. Our Academicians represent many different perspectives, but we all share a deep commitment to art and a strong belief in the contribution that artists make to the world.
Unlike most of our peers, we don’t receive revenue funding from the government and so we are reliant upon the support of visitors, donors, sponsors, and the loyal Friends of the Royal Academy to continue our work.