RA elects first female president
The printer and painter Rebecca Salter, 64, had been Keeper of the RA, effectively the president’s deputy and principal of the RA Schools, since being elected in 2017. She has been an RA since 2014.
She worked closely with her predecessor, Christopher Le Brun, to get the academy’s £56m extension - which has doubled its space - in time to mark the RA’s 250th anniversary in 2018, and this year launched a £15m programme to upgrade and extend the schools’ accommodation.
“The RA is unique, a place shaped by artists and architects” she said after her election by the 80 Royal Academicians last night. “Its exhibitions are world-class and we teach the artists of the future in the RA Schools. This is a tremendously exciting time to become president following the recent 250th anniversary expansion. I look forward to working with my fellow Academicians, our staff and our many supporters to help the RA to evolve while keeping art, architecture and debate at the heart of what we do.”
She arrives at a time of change for the academy. Le Brun had been one of the longest serving presidents, standing down after eight years, and ,last year the chief executive, Sir Charles Saumarez Smith, left to be replaced by Axel Ruger. The exhibition director, Tim Marlow, has also left to become director of the Design Museum.
Rebecca Salter at first studied ceramics, and studied in Kyoto, where she became interested in woodblock printing. She became a printmaker and painter, teaching at Camberwell College of Art until 2016 when art-making took up all her time up. She exhibits regularly in London and internationally.