By Rebecca Turner

Posted November 27, 2015 22:22:57

Visitor numbers to the Art Gallery of Western Australia have continued to plummet, contributing to big drops in income in the previous economic year.

Gallery director Stefano Carboni has blamed this on a $ 7 million WA Government funding cut and the slowing state economy.

But these cuts could deepen even additional in next month’s mid-year overview, which Minister for Culture and the Arts John Day said would contain “adjustments” to the art gallery’s price range.

Mr Day said he expected they would be restricted to corporate solutions and not have an effect on the public.

The gallery’s visitor numbers have dropped by 25 per cent in just two years, according to new figures in the gallery’s 2014-15 annual report.

Only 289,413 men and women visited the gallery final year, compared to 346,102 the preceding year and 385,230 in 2012-13.

Dr Carboni stated the lack of blockbuster exhibitions and increasing utility prices had hurt the gallery’s bottom line.

As a outcome, exhibition income had dropped from $ 1.five million to $ 210,000.

Revenue from sponsors, constantly keen to be associated with massive-name exhibitions, has also slumped, from $ 1.6 million to $ 632,000.

Cancellation of MOMA exhibition a blow

These drops in revenue can also be linked to the collapse of the Museum of Modern Art exhibition series in November 2013.

The gallery was forced to cancel the six-stage blockbuster series, which brought performs from the New York gallery to Perth, soon after just three shows simply because of increasing insurance fees and fewer visitors than anticipated.

“The thought was to have six exhibitions as a series over 3 years as a way of raising the bar and having a larger platform for delivering future programs,” Dr Carboni stated.

Combined with a reduce in funding from the WA Government, Dr Carboni mentioned the gallery was struggling to cover the expenses of maintaining and preserving the State Art Collection.

The collection, which involves a lot more than 17,000 of the WA’s most essential visual artworks, is stored below stringent temperature and humidity settings.

“If utility costs go by means of the roof, it does not translate into extra operating revenue,” he stated.

Mr Day mentioned that increasing utility fees have been an issue for all arts institutions, but particularly for the art gallery.

“But I don’t feel there is a disproportionate pressure on the arts spending budget compared to a variety of other agencies,” he mentioned.

“It can be more visible in the arts because there is much more engagement with the public.”

As Dr Carboni does not see the gallery’s funding to improve any time soon, he plans to aggressively chase new audiences with the help of a newly appointed director of audience engagement.

So whilst Dr Carboni has been forced to shelve his blockbuster technique, he has scheduled three ticketed shows for 2016, which includes an international comic art exhibition.

Topics: library-museum-and-gallery, visual-art, modern-art, perth-6000

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