The last art exhibition to be held at 'The Liverpool Academy of Arts'
A letter from James Hadfield-Hyde,
July 31st 2014. What a deeply sad day this is! In this morning's post, I received my invitation to the very last art exhibition to be held at 'The Liverpool Academy of Arts' in Seel Street, Liverpool. L1 4BE.
Shamefully, as the Trustee of the academy, I have thus-far been unable to save it from closure.
The Liverpool Academy of Arts is historically the second most prestigious art academy in the country.
It was founded by William Roscoe, who was the Whig MP for Liverpool in 1806. Roscoe was a philanthropist and a determined campaigner alongside Wilberforce for the abolition of slavery. In addition, he was a lawyer, an antiquarian, a poet, a botanist, an artist and a merchant banker.
In 1769 he founded the Liverpool Academy of Arts, just less than one year after the founding of the Royal Academy in London. With a lack of Royal Patronage right from the start, it was to embark upon a journey of undulating fortunes, with several stops along the way. 1960's Liverpool artist, Arthur Dooley, dreamed that the Liverpool Academy should bring art to ordinary working people. The exhibitions should be for them and by them. Art, like opera and ballet, should not just be for the elite, the rich and educated few, but for everyone.
That dream has been so admirably fulfilled, over many recent years by the dedication and tireless hard work of its present Director, June Lornie, and a handful of loyal artists and helpers.
There are two main reasons for its possible pending closure. (1) The Gallery site on Seel Street is to be demolished as part of the city's redevelopment. (2) the lack of essential funding!!! I struggle to see why the 'City Council' and the wealthy 'Liverpool Captains of Industry' have not supported such an important and proud historical institution.
As its Trustee, I feel a great burden of failure, not only to the good people of Liverpool, but to William Roscoe himself, and to Arthur Dooley's dream. This day must prove to be nothing more than a punctuation mark in The Liverpool Academy of Arts' glorious and turbulent history. It must continue to bring the joy of art to all.