Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 12:57 am
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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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