Practical Friendship Supports Contemporary Art

The Royal Scottish Academy is the leading contemporary art organisation in Scotland. It is led by artists for artists. The magnificent neo-classical building is situated in the heart of Edinburgh, at the foot of the Mound in Princes Street and was built in 1822-26 by William Henry Playfair RSA.

In 1986 an organisation was formed to support the work of the RSA, contemporary Scottish artists and architects. This is The Friends of The Royal Scottish Academy. The “Friends” has grown in scope and activity to embrace a method by which the public can become increasingly involved in the life and work of the Academy. The Board are all unpaid and they are supported by a team of volunteers who work tirelessly on an extensive events programme which is both social and educational. It enables Friends to interact with art and artists in a more intimate way thus increasing both understanding and enjoyment.

The income generated by the members and events is used to assist in the funding of RSA exhibitions, projects, residencies and awards. Currently there are over 2000 Friends both individual and corporate. Benefits include free entry to exhibitions organised by the RSA, with a guest, Private Views, Friends’ events – gallery talks, artist demonstrations, summer tours and lectures by leading artists and art experts.

There is a Friends’ room in the heart of the Gallery. This is a relaxing space where you can read, meet other Friends and enjoy refreshments. In addition there is free entry to the Royal Academy Exhibitions in London and use of their Friends’ Room with a guest. A free newsletter, keeping members up to date is distributed 3 times a year.

The RSA itself administers many scholarships, awards and residencies for artists living and working in Scotland. There is an extensive and important collection of art works and archive of the last 180 years of art and architecture in Scotland. The RSA presents a rolling programme of contemporary exhibitions which include the Annual Exhibition and the New Contemporaries Exhibition. It also mounts innovative new projects by local, national and international artists.

The position of the RSA is unique in Scotland as an independent, privately funded institution whose eminent artists and architects are dedicated to promote and support the creation, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts.

The current Annual Exhibition runs until 20 December and will be reviewed shortly.

Please also visit the website to find out more and how to become a member of this thriving, unique organisation and the benefits enjoyed by its supporters.
The Chairman of the Friends of the RSA is Betta Adams who is supported by the Board, the volunteers and administrator, Sheena Walker, assistant administrator Christine Shuker, who may be contacted for further information on membership and sponsorship opportunities. As Betta comments ‘All are assured of a warm welcome, and of their lives being enriched through contact with, and support of, the best of Scotland’s contemporary artists and architects’.

Telephone 0131 225 3922, email . Website

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Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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