[intro]It’s the Best of Times for Museum Attendance; It’s the Worst of Times for the Arts[/intro]
The Art Newspaper just released its own study of 20 Art museums concluding that attendance has risen visibly at two-thirds of the institutions.
The trend holds for institutions with free and paid admissions alike, and institutions that show contemporary art have seen the most clear-cut increase. New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the nation’s most expensive museums at $20 per ticket, had the best year in its 80-year history, bringing in 2.8 million visitors between 2008 and 2009. The size of its membership rose to a record 120,000. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright retrospective was its best-attended show yet, attracting 372,000 people. The New York museum has also broken its 2008 attendance record of just over one million.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago saw a record 164,946 visitors attend this year’s Olafur Eliasson retrospective. […] A destination museum, such as Dia:Beacon in upstate New York is doing well, attracting 69,475 visitors so far this year. And the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) said this was its best year yet. Last year it attracted 142,000 people.
Culture Monster, the LA Times arts blog, highlights an opposite trend: declining interest in the arts. They cite a study released by the National Endowment for the Arts:
The report, which uses data collected in 2008, said that the share of adults who attended at least one arts event was 34.6%, down from 39.4% in 2002, which was the last time the survey was conducted.Moreover, those who did attend arts events did so less frequently. The report found that the average number of attendances per individual was 5.2 in 2008, down from 6.1 in 2002.
Among the types of arts events that the report measures are museum shows, classical-music concerts, opera, ballet, theater, jazz concerts and more. […]
One of the most surprising findings in the report was that people ages 45 to 54 — who have historically been a significant component of arts audiences — showed the steepest declines in attendance for arts events. Only 36% of those in this age group attended an arts event in 2008, versus 46% in 2002.
Museum Attendance Rises as Economy Tumbles (The Art Newspaper)
NEA Report Shows Declining Attendance at Arts Events Nationwide (Culture Monster)