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Art Gallery visitor numbers rise for second consecutive month

11 August 2006

Visitor numbers at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu have increased by more than 33 per cent for the second consecutive month.

Numbers in July were 40,364 – up 38 per cent – buoyed by the phenomenal success of the popular photography exhibitions, Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Planet Football, a successful TV2 KidsFest programme and the hands-on natural disaster roadshow, Earth’s Fury. This compares with 29,163 visitors in July 2005.

July was a 30-month high for visitor numbers at the Gallery, said Christchurch City Council Community Services General Manager Stephen McArthur. “It is good to see such strong growth in visitor numbers during the last two months.

“The Gallery finished the 2005-06 financial year strongly with a 34 per cent increase in visitor numbers in June. A 38 per cent increase in July is a good start for the new financial year.”

The Gallery ended the 2005-06 financial year with 288,293 visitors, 0.28 per cent down on the previous year’s 289,097.

Mr McArthur said much work has been done in the last six months to create a new exhibition programme and visitor experience at the Gallery, and he was confident that this will result in a gallery that better connected not only with its loyal arts community but also new and enlarged audiences

The challenge for the Gallery in 2006-07 is to achieve a visitor count of 350,000. Mr McArthur said with the Paradigm Shift, a new organisational structure, processes and procedures this target was an achievable result.

“The Summer 2006-07 Schedule is the first developed under the Paradigm Shift and it is a balanced programme of eight exhibitions, which includes an international blockbuster show by Alberto Giacometti, one of the most significant artists of the 20th Century. It will arguably be the most important exhibition of 20th Century sculpture to ever be seen in New Zealand,” he said.

“There are some extremely exciting times ahead for the Gallery as it forges a new identity and works to realise its Vision of the Cultural Precinct and Worcester Boulevard becoming the most visited cultural site in New Zealand.”


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