Birmingham’s oldest art society: working to promote the arts today

Did you know that we have been supporting artists for two centuries? Everything we do is to promote the visual arts…

We have a collection of more than 800 works of art, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery.

Art exhibitions

We hold regular exhibitions throughout the year, and as an artist-led organisation, much of the work we do is staged by artists, to bring art to a wider audience.

The RBSA is one of the oldest Royal Societies in the UK, and played an important part in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Sir John Everett Millais and Sir Edward Burne-Jones both served as presidents.

Portico new

Joseph Edward Southall PRBSA (1861-1944) The Old Portico, 1912

Promoting the arts

The Society has been, and continues to be, home to some of the UK’s most exciting artists, and exists at the heart of creative life in Birmingham. Founded to promote and develop emerging artistic talent, the ethos today is largely unchanged.

In addition to supporting a wide membership of working artists, the RBSA sells contemporary craft, sculpture, textiles and jewellery from its ground floor space in the Jewellery Quarter.

Regular exhibitions are held on the upper floors in Galleries 1 and 2. You can see the best in contemporary art, design and sculpture through the year.

Natalie Osbourne, Learning and Engagement Manager, said: ‘We rely on Members, Associates, and Friends to help keep the Gallery open. They volunteer their time to help in many ways, by changing over exhibitions, stewarding the gallery spaces, delivering free artist demonstrations, and helping with educational activities.

Mike Allison 2

Monotype Portraits, with guest tutor Mike Allison


The RBSA puts on an extensive programme of workshops in the Spring and Summer, with plans for a new Autumn schedule for 2018.

The programmes meet the educational aims of the Society, which seeks to bring art to as wide an audience as possible. Classes cover a wide range of artistic media and techniques, and professional skills are also taught.

  1. Every workshop is delivered by a Member or Associate of the RBSA

  2. There are discounts for Society members and those in full-time education

  3. Specialist art materials are included in the workshop fee

  4. Certificates can be provided


Wayne Attwood, ‘Birmingham Nights’


The RBSA Gallery displays work by hundreds of artists throughout the year. Visitors are encouraged to speak to our staff members about commissioning.

Natalie added: ‘In the last few years we’ve managed to match numerous customers with a range of artists. We helped a family order an original portrait of a loved one for a special anniversary and ensured that a worried romantic purchased a special piece of jewellery for their partner.

‘We want all our visitors and customers to find the art they love, so do not hesitate to ask us about commissioning.’

Feedback from art lovers

We get a lot of positive feedback from visitors to our exhibitions:

“Such a wonderful range!”

“Great works here – lots of lovely styles”

“A very high standard this year”

“A little gem in the heart of the city!”

“Inspirational! I’m getting my paints out!”

Etching by David Harban

Support the RBSA

The RBSA has had a Friends scheme since the 1900s. Our Friends pay £34, which gives them access to free events and activities, exhibition opportunities, and discounts on exhibition fees and workshops.

Becoming a Friend in October allows three extra months free because you pay nothing more for the whole of 2018!

For more information, see our website.

Did you know?

• The RBSA is one of the oldest art societies in the UK • It promotes engagement with the visual arts through supporting artists, holding exhibitions and running educational activities • The Society is a registered charity and the Society’s Collection has museum status • Many of the artworks on display at the Gallery are for sale • The RBSA Gallery has to raise running costs for each year through subscriptions, donations, the sale of artwork, and fundraising.

Learn more…

Interested in learning more about the RBSA and RBSA Gallery? You can receive updates, read news items, and get behind-the-scenes insights by checking out the following: • Our new updated blogRBSA news • RBSA accounts on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter: search ‘@rbsagallery’ or ‘RBSA’ • Free e-mailing list

Brumpic has chosen us as one of the region’s top venues for their Culture Card scheme. So remember to visit us soon!

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