The Royal Academy’s Art Club for the Homeless


The Royal Academy, London Photo: Bengt Oberger via Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Academy, London
Photo: Bengt Oberger via Wikimedia Commons

Since 1769 London’s Royal Academy has trained some of Britain’s best artists. Now it has opened its doors to the capitals’s homeless, The Guardian reports. All of the members of the Royal Academy’s community art club for the homeless live on the streets of London or in temporary accommodation, some suffer from addictions or mental health problems.

The art club was founded when BNY Mellon, the corporate sponsor of last year’s Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy, introduced the RA to St Mungo’s Broadway, a charity for the homeless supported by the bank’s charitable foundation. The attendees meet for a half day each month, touring the current exhibition at the Royal Academy before sitting down to make art together.

Pippa Brown of St Mungo’s told The Guardian “Some of our people are quite insular, here they can be quiet in company…and it takes them outside their usual world.” Indeed, the program has produced some remarkable success stories, the art club gave one member the confidence to pursue an education. “It gave him the confidence to go to college, he did something he was not comfortable with – and it was OK.”

For most members however, the art club gives them something to look forward to, its about getting together and enjoying some rare leisure time and gives them the opportunity to take their minds off their predicaments, if only briefly.

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