The Royal Academy of Arts in London announced today that it has elected its first female president in its 251-year history. Artist Rebecca Salter will take over the helm from Christopher Le Brun, who has led the academy for the past eight years. She was selected the head of the institution in a secret balllot by her fellow Royal Academicians, who are all practicing artists and architects, and her appointment received formal approval from Queen Elizabeth II.
A painter and printmaker, Salter became an Academician in 2014, and in 2017, she was named keeper of the Royal Academy, which means she is responsible for guiding the RA Schools. Over the course of her career, Salter served as an associate lecturer for the graduate printmaking course at Camberwell College of Art at the University of the Arts, London, for two decades and was featured in solo exhibitions at Gallery Rin, Tokyo; Beardsmore Gallery, London; Howard Scott Gallery, New York; and the Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut, among other institutions.
“This is a tremendously exciting time to become president”, Salter remarked. The academy reopened following a $76 million expansion led by David Chipperfield Architects in 2018. “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.”