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There’s a free arty party at the Royal Academy this weekend and you’re all invited

By Nick Levine

Ring in the Royal Academy of Arts' 250th birthday and see its swish new space at this arty weekender

As the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) celebrates 250 years of existence, this venerable London institution has treated itself to a makeover. On Saturday, the Piccadilly landmark will unveil a newly expanded campus containing space for major exhibitions, interactive workshops and new free art displays. In the past, the RA has sometimes felt like a fabulous but frosty great aunt, but now it’s showing a warmer side.

To mark the transformation, the RA is really letting its hair down by throwing a weekend-long opening party, and it’s all totally free. After checking out the new-look campus, which unites the RA’s two sites at Burlington House and Burlington Gardens for the first time, you can join a printmaking workshop and watch artist Sarah Kate Wilson turn a stairwell into a sonic prism with her performance piece, ‘Rainbows’. Or just show up fashionably Mayfair late for an art-filled afterparty thrown by the women of Peckham’s creative collective Born N Bread. It’s a fun and inclusive reminder that you don’t have to be able to afford a print in the Summer Exhibition to feel like you belong at the Royal Academy.

With pop-up stalls selling cocktails, craft beer, vegan junk food, hot dogs from Pop Dogs and Mother Clucker’s awesome fried chicken, there’s no chance of flagging if you stay for the long haul. If you have to do something ‘royal’ this weekend, make it this.

Join the Art Party. Royal Academy of Arts. Tube: Green Park. Sat May 19, 10am-10pm and Sun May 20, 10am-6pm. Free.

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