Jonathan Jones flags up declining visitor numbers in arts

My initial post heading ended with the comment ‘with no context’. That was unfair and unreasonable, Jonathan Jones did provide a context, I merely felt it needed more. 

I apologise to Jonathan Jones for that harsh heading.

I have just spotted this article in the Guardian from 2nd February. Whilst is is alarming and may give the reader the impression that less people are interested in culture these days, there is insufficient information about the obvious questions arising, for example WHY are there less visitors? We get part of the story, which is certainly true, but surely there are other things at play?

Here are some of the things I’d like to know that might provide an informed answer:

  • The % of visitors to museums and galleries has dropped, but retained the same % of visitors from abroad. Has that overall number dropped dramatically too?
  • How do these stats compare to the budgets the museums have at their disposal? Have they gone down relationally?
  • Have the institutions had to cut their staffing levels?
  • How many have closed altogether?
  • Which have been the best attended, and why?
  • Similarly, which have suffered the biggest reduction of visitors?
  • How do the regions vary from London?
  • How do these stats compare with other sectors, for example sport, heritage organisations etc?
  • Of those that DO attend, has their spend in shops, cafes etc. Gone up, or down?
  • Might there be a direct relationship between cuts to funding for local authorities?
  • Or the number of people who have been made redundant because of those cuts? Or had salaries cut?

It would be really good to understand the wider picture.

And most of all, what can we do to improve things? Or are these figures going to be used against the sector, to cut funding even further?

Answers on a postcard please, preferably from a museum or gallery of your choice.

(Blogging on train so apologies if not 100% perfect!)

Published by carolyn black

I'm an artist and also commission contemporary art in unusual locations. As a producer, I fundraise, curate, project manage and deliver projects. I'm also a writer and film-maker.

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