Democracy in Art. The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts 2015.

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA):

The RA has a broad role, and in their own words this is, ” to promote, not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but also its practice. Our artists 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”.

It is an independent charity and receives no government funding, and so depends on the support of visitors, donors, sponsors, and Friends of the Royal Academy.



It is led by many of the greatest artists and architects of the day, and these people are known as Royal Academicians,  all of whom are practising artists. There are no more than 80 RA’s at one time and they must be representative of the art world. Hence, there will be at least 14 Sculptors, 12 Architects and 8 Printmakers,  with the rest being Painters. On reaching the age of 75, an RA becomes a Senior Academician.  Additionally, Honorary RA’s, usually artists from outside the UK, and Honorary Fellows and Honorary Members are elected by existing RA’s.


Similarly, Presidents are always elected by their fellow Academicians. They must be under 75 and cannot be in office for more than 10 consecutive years. They are the RA’s formal representative and takes the lead on fundraising efforts to secure the future of the RA. The current President is Christopher Le Brun.


Grayson Perry RA said, “I love the Royal Academy. It’s like a trade union for artists – both anachronistic and extremely relevant.” Certainly, it is steeped in tradition and formality, however, with its array of educational programmes and activities, dovetailed with its variety of cutting edge exhibitions, the RA is contemporary and germane.


What does the future hold for the RA?

To celebrate its 250 year anniversary in 2018, the RA is  transforming its historic buildings – and inviting Friends and visitors join in the celebrations.royal-academy-logo

The current buildings will be united through designs by internationally-acclaimed architect David Chipperfield RA and will, “reveal the elements that make the RA unique, sharing with the public our historic treasures, the work of our Academicians and the RA Schools, alongside our world-class exhibitions programme. We are opening up the Royal Academy as never before, creating a revitalised destination for artists and the public in the very heart of London – all in time for our 250th anniversary in 2018.


There is a lot going on at the RA.  Keep up with the progress of the anniversary plans and news from the RA.



The 2015 – What’s it all about?

The Royal Academy (RA) has its galleries in the heart of central London, at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. The Summer Exhibition runs from the 8 June until the 16 August 2015 and the opening hours are Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm and on a Friday, 10am – 10pm

It provides an unrivalled setting and opportunity for aspiring and established artists to display and sell their artworks. “It’s an exhibition selected by artists, hung by artists… we just choose the best art, and try to make sense of it on the walls. It is a truly democratic exhibition”, wrote Norman Ackroyd RA, Summer Exhibition Co-ordinator 2013.


prog cover Summer ex

The array of works and the celebratory atmosphere of the exhibition make for an unique experience where visitors can browse, buy and discuss the works on show.

For almost 250 years, the Summer Exhibition has offered a snapshot of contemporary art . This year there are  over 1000 works on show, all hand picked from over 12,000 entries.

The 2015 exhibition is co-ordinated by Michael Craig-Martin RA, a leading artist of his generation and the man who is accredited with nurturing the talents of Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst.

It is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition: its earliest exhibitors included the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner. With many works in the exhibition on sale, the show also gives you a chance to own some original art while supporting the historic Royal Academy schools.





With everything from painting, printmaking and sculpture through to installation, photography and film, this is a show unlike any other.


Prepare for all your senses to be stimulated.  In the courtyard, a towering formation of steel ‘clouds’, created by Conrad Shawcross RA before Jim Lambie’s kaleidoscopic stairs lead up to the Main Galleries.





Ken Howard  OBE RA

All RAs are entitled to exhibit up to six works in the annual Summer Exhibition, and they also have the opportunity to show their work in small solo exhibitions in our other galleries. Many of the RAs are also involved in teaching at the RA Schools and giving lectures as part of the RA Learning Programme.

Ken Howard, is one of our esteemed and ever- popular hosts.  We have had the privilege of working with this senior academician for several years now and have enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm and outstanding skill as an artist in Morocco, India, and Venice. These travels are reflected in the 6 pictures that Ken showed at this year’s Summer Exhibition. Here are 3 of them:


879 Rain Effect S Giovanni E Paolo, Venice

870 Udaipur ken  at RA 15

874 Varanasi Triptych
















We are fortunate enough to be working with Ken again in Venice this year,  from the  29th August – 5th September 2015 and 5th – 12th September 2015.  For the opportunity to paint alongside Ken Howard in Venice, click here.  We hope you can join us!