American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust
The American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust – AARAT – was founded in 1983 as an autonomous 501(c)3 not-for-profit organisation to fulfil the dual mission of raising visibility as well as financial support in the US for the Royal Academy of Arts.
Since the RA continues to operate independently without government aid, the efforts of the American Associates have brought new strength and security to the Royal Academy’s function on behalf of artists, students, scholars and the general public.
• The first gift from AARAT to the RA was used to fund the elevator that transports artworks between the basement and the upper galleries and to start the RA’s first endowment.
• The Starr Scholarship, established in 1986, provides for a one-year artist’s residency for American students at he Royal Academy Schools in perpetuity; it is made possible by the Starr Foundation.
• AARAT secures funds from American benefactors for full-time scholarships at the RA Schools.
• Dame Jillian Sackler DBE, an AARAT Trustee, made the naming grant for the award-winning Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing in memory of her husband. The project, designed by Lord Norman Foster RA, was opened by HM The Queen in 1991.
• In 1996, AARAT was instrumental in establishing the Hugh and Margaret Casson Exhibition Fund to assist in the research and development stage of RA exhibitions coming to American museums. Since the early 1980s, more than 30 RA exhibitions have traveled to over 35 museums throughout the US.
• The restoration of Gallery III, the largest of the Main Galleries, was made possible by a gift from AARAT; it was re-named The American Associates Gallery by HRH The Prince of Wales in June 1996.
• AARAT helped fund the construction of the Library, as well as the new Friends’ Room.
• On 22 May 2002, HM The Queen dedicated the Annenberg Courtyard, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, RA. Refurbishment of the courtyard was made possible by a generous donation from Walter H. Annenberg, the late former American Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, and his wife Leonore. This dedication marked the completion of one of three projects encompassed by the Royal Academy’s most recent capital campaign, for which AARAT raised one-third of the funds.
• AARAT’s contributions helped fund the restoration of the John Madejski Fine Rooms, the suite of 18th century rooms where highlights of the RA’s magnificent collection are displayed. HRH The Prince of Wales dedicated the Fine Rooms on 5 March 2004. AARAT’s then-Acting Chairman, James C. Slaughter, made the naming gift for the Lee and James C. Slaughter Room, which focuses on works from the early history of the RA.
• Funding for the Cataloguing Project of the Royal Academy’s Collection was started in 2000. The project is to provide an integrated catalogue of all media within the Collections, Library and Archive. Objects were conserved and imaged and made available online with full search facilities across all fields.
• AARAT established a five year Lecture Program on American Creativity at the RA through a gift from the Henry Luce Foundation in New York.
• On 9 July 2007, Dame Jillian Sackler DBE donated $1,000,000 to the Royal Academy of Arts in connection with the construction and establishment of the Archives in Burlington House. The archives now hold, in state-of-the-art accommodations, all of the Academy’s official records since its formation as well as materials from figures central to the history of British art. This room will henceforth be known as the The Dame Jillian Sackler Archive Room.
• In 2008, a $10 million anonymous donation was made for a specific project in the proposed new Education Center. Also, the Goldsmith Foundation made a $750,000 donation toward the creation of office space and the installation of elevators at 6 Burlington Gardens. Martin Sullivan OBE made a gift to the Archive Collection Project.
• In 2009 a significant donation was made as a match for the installation of a Climate Control System for the Library and Print Room.
• In 2011 a gift was made to the Capital Campaign for The Sackler Wing of Galleries.