The South West Academy has as its primary aim the promotion of the visual arts and culture of the region. The Academy is a registered charity and is dedicated to advancing the creation and appreciation of art in the South West of Britain. It works to contribute to the cultural life of the region through an annual calendar of exhibitions and events. Each year the Academy holds two large-scale exhibitions. In the spring the Academicians’ Exhibition showcases the work of its members. The annual Open Exhibition, a juried show that invites entries from anyone in the region, follows this and features the Young Artists Award. This is part of the Academy's on-going programme of work with schools and young people.
In addition to this programme is the annual Drecki Lecture, a presentation given by outstanding artists and others in the field of the arts.
The work of the Academy is made possible by the generous support from a range of sponsors. Practical, financial and artistic support comes from the Friends of the Academy, whose efforts have underpinned the organization from its beginnings.