It pays to be popular. The National Gallery of Victoria, which last week was listed at number 19 among the 20 most visited art galleries in the world, will be given an extra $28.7 million over two years in the next Victorian Budget.
Martin Foley, the Victorian Minister for Creative Industries (a role known as an ‘arts minister’ in other states), said the extra funds “will support the gallery to strengthen its permanent exhibitions and undertake ongoing maintenance, including managing its collection of more than 70,000 artworks”.
The boost is a reward for a job well done, according to the numbers. When incumbent NGV director Tony Ellwood was newly arrived at the gallery five years ago it held 28 exhibitions a year but by 2016 that number had risen to 49. Visitor numbers have jumped from 2 million in 2014 to 2.4 million in 2015 and on to an all time high of 2.6 million last year. (The NGV says the Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei summer exhibition of 2016 generated $25.1 million income for Victoria).
Foley said in a statement this morning that the extra funding will also support the gallery to continue its NGV Summer program, “which over the last four years has attracted more than five million visitors, including record numbers of tourists”.
The NGV Summer program includes major contemporary art and design exhibitions, ‘Friday Nights’ music series and a kids festival,
The NGV’s 2017 Melbourne Winter Masterpiece show Van Gogh and the Seasons opens on Friday.