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Salford celebrates 250 years of The Royal Academy

Tuesday 15th May 2018

This year, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Ordsall Hall and The Lowry are bringing The Royal Academy to Salford to celebrate the institution’s 250th anniversary, made possible with Art Fund support. 

Museums and galleries across the UK will take part in a nationwide programme of talks, events and exhibitions entitled RA250.

In Salford, the three venues will host exhibitions that pick out the hidden gems from their collections, complemented by loans from other institutions plus household names such as L.S Lowry, David Hockney and Edward Burne-Jones.

The exhibitions unite traditional landscape and portraiture with modern art and includes war artists from World War II which shows prints, drawings and sculpture.

The Royal Academy Takeover will take place at Salford Community Leisure’s two venues commencing on May 20 until October 7 with The Royal Academy Takeover: The Exhibition at Ordsall Hall in the Egerton Gallery including works by Arnold Mason, William Strang (Bacchante) and Sheila Fell (Houses Near Aspatria). 

This cross-site exhibition will continue at Salford Museum & Art Gallery from 30 June until 24 February 2019. Held in the Langworthy Gallery, works on show here will include more Royal Academicians from the collections and loaned items including works by artists L.S Lowry (Peel Park and The Funeral), David Hockney, Walter Richard Sickert (The Grey Dress) and Elizabeth Frink. Loans have been made possible through the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund. 

Meanwhile, there are two exhibitions taking place at The Lowry. On Saturday May 19th Chantal Joffe RA opens Personal Feeling is the Main Thing, a collection of fearless paintings that confront the physicality of the human body and the complexities of human emotions. In December, the academy’s own collection of Lowry’s work will go on display within the permanent LS Lowry: The Art & The Artist exhibition.

Securing the Royal Academy Takeover has been made possible by a number of grants and loans awarded to Salford Community Leisure, which runs both Salford Museum & Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. To mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, Art Fund has pledged £250,000 towards a number of initiatives celebrating the RA on a national scale. Funding by Salford Community Leisure will go towards purchasing exhibition equipment, the conservation of paintings, writing and publishing a catalogue specific to the exhibition and some exhibition related events. At Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the Royal Academy Takeover Exhibition will take place in a Gallery space that has recently been refurbished thanks to a grant from Arts Council England administered by Museums Development North West.

Sarah Spence, Director of Libraries and Culture for Salford Community Leisure, said: “We are delighted that the Royal Academy’s 250th celebrations are not restricted to just London as we strive to bring new arts and cultural events and activities to people living, working and visiting Salford every year. We are very grateful for the funding received that has enabled us to attract the Royal Academy to Salford. We have a very rich art heritage in Salford and we’re proud to be able to continue the great work of artists and institutions past and present to continue to keep Salford on the arts and culture map.”

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Becoming a Royal Academician was one of the very few honours that LS Lowry not only accepted, but embraced. As such, we are delighted to help celebrate their 250th birthday with a display of his work from the academy’s archives this December. Equally, Chantal’s amazing collection of paintings – which form part of our biennial Week 53 festival - are a real treat for visitors.”

Stephen Deuchar, director, Art Fund, said: “Art Fund is proud to support Salford Museum and Art Gallery through two of our national funding programmes. Through RA250 UK they join our nationwide celebration of the 250th birthday of the Royal Academy, while the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund has brought some great works of art on loan for the enjoyment of everyone in Salford and beyond.’

Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director, said, ‘We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums from Hastings to Hawick. Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions that promise to transform the experiences of their audiences. Seeing these come to life across the UK in 2018 is the best possible way of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Garfield Weston Foundation.’

The Royal Academy is the world’s foremost artist and architect-led institution. Since its foundation in 1768, the membership of Royal Academicians has included over 650 of Britain’s most eminent artists and architects.

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