In a world where staying inside and using technology seems to be the way of the future, it is nice to hear some positive news about the Art Gallery of South Australia. It has attracted record attendances – nearly 800,000 people in one year, with much of that attendance being made up of children and their families.
The Art Gallery of South Australia attracted 779,670 visitors in the last financial year, the highest attendance ever and up 12 percent on the previous year.
Arts Minister Jack Snelling said it was a remarkable achievement by one of the state’s premier cultural institutions.
“It is further confirmation that South Australians and people beyond the state are hungry for accessible and innovative arts,” Mr Snelling said.
“We have had an increase right across the spectrum, from 35,000 school visits to more than 15,000 people from outside South Australia attending the Fashion Icons exhibition.”
“First Fridays – which allow the Gallery to stay up late on the first Friday each month – also proved successful in drawing in an after-work crowd for music, drinks and special talks and tours.”
Supported by Santos, the First Fridays concept began in November last year. The significant increase was underpinned by strong attendance from children and their families at free public programs that support them with 77,500 people attending child-friendly programs in the last financial year.
The START program, supported by The Balnaves Foundation, runs on first Sunday of the month and aims to introduce children to the Art Gallery and foster a love of the collection. Similarly, The Studio is a free, hands-on activity space supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation.
Another bump in attendance came from tourism, with 26 percent of the 60,000 visitors to Fashion Icons: Masterpieces from the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris hailing from outside South Australia. Fashion Icons brought 100 haute couture garments from leading French designers exclusively to Adelaide in October 2014.
Nick Mitzevich, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, attributed the general increase in visitors to ‘success in nurturing thousands of first-time visitors through our broad and accessible programs,’ particularly the Gallery’s new family and childrens’ programs’. He said the Gallery was committed to leveraging its successful attendances to invigorate the city and help attract visitors to the state.