Light at the end of the tunnel!

RWA Director Alison Bevan delivers some great news in troubled times…


A message from Alison Bevan, RWA Director

Dear Friends

We’re delighted (finally!) to be able to announce the exciting news that we’ve been successful and have been awarded the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) £1.37M second round grant towards our Light and Inspiration project – HURRAH!

We’re obviously immensely relieved and absolutely delighted.  As Tristan Pollard observed from his vantage point as the RWA’s longest serving staff member, the Light & Inspiration project really will go in the history books.  It’s the most significant change to the RWA in over 100 years and will transform us, allowing us to fulfil our potential as one of THE great regional galleries and an asset not only to the city, but to the whole region.

The project is outlined on the appropriate page of our website, and if you want more detail, here is a little video we made for our virtual assessment visit by the Lottery back in the summer.

Press releases will be going out later this week, and I wanted you, as a Friend, to know before it was made fully public.  We’ll also be launching a full public fundraising appeal in due course – probably in the New Year – to try to raise the remaining funds needed to do all we want to do.

The project team is working hard already, with the aim of closing for the work to take place from June to December next year, reopening early 2022.

Meanwhile, as you’ll will no doubt expect from the current situation, we’re having to delay the start of the 168 Annual Open due to the new lockdown.  We’re disappointed, but we have at least already received, and are in the process of hanging, all the works, so at least it CAN go ahead when we’re able to open, and  fortunately we had scheduled a much longer run than usual, to allow for periods of closure and still let plenty of people come to see the show on the walls, as well as online.

To survive the closure, the RWA will once again be taking advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme as much as possible, so please be aware that there may be a delay in responding to queries.

THANK YOU as ever for your support for the RWA.  We could not have got to this point without your support.  I hope you will enjoy seeing the RWA blossom through this exciting moment in our history, and that we can soon welcome you back, safely, in the gallery.

Until then, I do hope you remain healthy, safe and creative through these challenging times.

Warmest regards

Alison Bevan BEM BA FMA, Director, RWA


More information about the Light and Inspiration project and how you can support it can be found here.


The Friends of the RWA is an independent charity that supports the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol’s first art gallery. 
For just £35 a year Friends can make unlimited visits to RWA exhibitions and enjoy a host of other benefits, as well as making an important contribution to the arts in Bristol and the South West. Find out more and join up here.

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