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'Art Investment and Cities' - audio of first panel

Royal Academy of Arts, Chief Executive, Charles Saumarez Smith, presented at our latest Future Cities Forum, held at RIBA, 25th January 2018 on the institution's 250th celebrations.

Investment in the new galleries of the RA will become a significant asset in attracting international visitors and the immediate community.

David Chipperfield was the chosen architect who has recast and refashioned the Burlington Gardens building – bringing new light-filled galleries, a 257-seat public lecture theatre, and an open axis linking both buildings which reveals the Royal Academy Schools for the first time in 250 years. The redesigned wing of the RA will open in May 2018.

Charles commented that the new wing will help the RA to have even more impact on the West End of London as a cultural quarter, drawing in tourists and Londoners. “What makes Mayfair interesting as an international tourist destination is the odd and distinctive mix of art, tailoring, old buildings, luxury flagship stores, back streets and auction houses.”

He then joined a panel discussion on the changing role of private collections and galleries, which featured the new model for art gallery space, events, offices and storage that is being developed at Cromwell Place in South Kensington by Preston Benson.

The reworking of a stucco terrace of houses into flexible galleries and club house space is aimed at medium sized galleries who have been priced out of Cork Street, Dover Street and Pall Mall. It aims – by combining the best bits of an art fair, with best bits of an art gallery - to create a destination for contemporary and fine art (for galleries and collectors), in SW7 that will partly rebalance the migration of art and artists to East London.

Listen to the podcast of Charles’ presentation and to the full panel debate - Challenges and opportunities: the changing role of private collections and galleries with James Knox (Director, Fleming Wyfold Foundation), Whitney Hintz (Curator, Hiscox Art Collection), Preston Benson (Managing Director, Cromwell Place), and Amanda Gray (Managing Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP)

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