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London's Royal Academy of Arts Gifted $13 Million

LONDON, ENGLAND—The Royal Academy of Arts in London, Britain’s oldest art school, announced that it has been gifted $13 million—the largest donation ever received by the institution—from Swedish businessman Hans Rausing and his wife, Julia. The funds will support the restoration of the academy’s central London campus.

Academy president Christopher Le Brun said that the institution is already internationally recognized for its exhibitions and that he wants to ensure that its academic program remains at the forefront of arts education. “The general perception is that we are a set of exhibition galleries with the most wonderful exhibition program you can imagine, Le Brun told The Guardian. “The academy as an academy somehow slipped out of sight.”

The renovation will increase the number of artist studios and state-of-the-art workshops at the school. It will also create a new library. Upgrades to its existing studios and architecture classrooms will also be made. Work on the project will begin in 2021.

Commenting on the donation, the Rausings said: “The RA Schools have produced some of the world’s most famous artists since their inception 250 years ago. It was founded to develop the brightest young artists based on merit. The RA Schools remain free and independent today and our gift allows for the restoration of the fabric of the building and its survival for future generations of artists.”

February 21, 2019