International Connections - Global - Overview
Tag : galleries

Cultural tourism reached a high in 2012 with almost 3 million international tourists and 23 million domestic cultural and heritage tourists.

The 2012 International Visitor Survey showed that 48 percent of all overseas visitors had attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia. Of these 58 percent had visited an art gallery or museum and 20 percent attended theatre, concerts or other performing arts events.


Attendance and Engagement - Participation - Overview

Total estimated attendances have increased from 47 million in 2005-06 to 55 million attendances in 2009-10

ABS estimates suggest the number of attendances at art venues or events increased 17 percent between 2005-06 and 2009-10. Art venues and events made up around 21 percent of the total number of cultural attendances in 2005-06, increasing to 24 percent in 2009-10.[1]

While all art venues and events saw increased attendance in 2009-10, the largest increases were for art galleries (around 1.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10) and popular music concerts (around 3.7 million additional attendances in 2009-10).

Attendances at other arts events, such as classical music concerts and theatre performances, also increased slightly over the period.

[1] Conservative estimate based on how often Australians attend the arts.

Non-arts cultural activities include attending museums, botanic gardens, cinemas, zoos, aquariums and libraries.


More Australians now attend art galleries and popular music concerts

ABS surveys of attendance at cultural venues and events shows that 26 percent of the Australian population over the age of 15 attended an art gallery during 2009-10, equivalent to 4 million Australians. This was significantly higher than the 23 percent that attended in 2005-06.

Attendance at performing art events has also seen a statistically significant increase in 2009-10 from 50 percent of Australians attending at least one event in 2005-06 to 52 percent attending at least one event in 2009-10. This has largely been driven by attendance at popular music concerts. Three in ten Australians had attended a popular music concert in 2009-10 (30 percent) – a statistically significant increase on the 25 percent attending in 2005-06.

Attendance at classical music concerts, musicals and operas, dance performances and theatre performances has remained stable since 1999.


Cultural tourism in Australia - Global - Visual Arts

The Australian economy benefits from international visitors to museums and galleries

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey 2009, showed more than half (51 percent) of all overseas visitors attended at least one cultural attraction while in Australia.

Of these, 57 percent had visited a museum or art gallery and 17 percent had visited an art/craft workshop or studio.

Many also experienced Indigenous culture, with 20 percent ‘experiencing Aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays’, and 11 percent ‘visiting an Aboriginal site/community’.

International cultural and heritage visitors create economic benefits through longer stays and higher spending patterns than other tourists. In 2009, the average amount spent per trip was $6,280 compared with other international visitors who spent on average $3,832. This resulted in total spending of $16.3 billion in 2009.

Visitors from Asia accounted for 36 percent of all international cultural and heritage visitors. The United Kingdom and New Zealand accounted for a further 15 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The most popular destinations for both international and domestic cultural heritage visitors were New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, while rates of participation in cultural and heritage activities were higher in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.


Visiting museums and galleries is the most popular cultural activity for overnight and day trippers within Australia

During 2009, Australians took 9.5 million day trips and 9.3 overnight trips involving participation in cultural and heritage activities in Australia.

Overnight cultural and heritage visitors accounted for 14 percent of all overnight trips, and spent a collective 50 million nights at least 40 kilometres from home.

Visiting museums or art galleries was the most popular cultural activity for both domestic overnight visitors (43 percent visiting) and day trippers (36 percent visiting). By way of comparison, visits to historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments attracted 29 percent of overnight visitors and 25 percent of day visitors.

As with international visitors, domestic cultural tourists spend significantly more on their trips than other tourists, creating higher economic impacts. The average amount spent per trip was $1,030 compared with those not participating in cultural and heritage activities, who spent on average $578 per trip.

Domestic travellers represent 87 percent of all cultural tourists, with over 18.8 million visitors in 2009. Across both international and domestic markets, the number of cultural visitors has grown at a rate of 2 percent per year since 2000.


Public galleries - Industry - Visual Arts
Tag : galleries

Australia’s art museums are home to 2.8 million art works. In 2007-08, they held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays, and recorded over 2 million paid and 10 million unpaid visitors.

Our art museums and galleries also enable millions of international tourists to experience Australian culture, and fuel important economic activity through tourism. In 2009, around 30% of international visitors and 43% of domestic travellers visited a museum or gallery.


Australia’s 165 public art museums attracted almost 13 million attendances in 2008

There are an estimated 165 non-commercial galleries/museums in Australia with a visual arts focus.  In 2008, the ABS estimated that these visual arts galleries/museums made up 14 percent of all museums in Australia – with an estimated 712 social history museums, 247 historic sites and 59 other museums operating.

Art museums held over 2,000 special exhibitions or displays during 2007-08. That year they recorded 12.9 million admissions, the equivalent of 42 percent of all museum admissions reported.  Four in five of these attendances were for free exhibitions and events.

Art museums were more reliant on public funds than other museums, with government funding accounting for almost 40 percent of their income in 2007-08. However, art museums also earned more than three times the funds of other museums through sponsorship and philanthropy.

Table 2 - Summary of non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Year Art museums Free attendances Paid attendances Admissions incomeOnline visits
2007-08 165 107710002177000$1960000011987000


Art museum websites attracted almost 12 million visits in 2007-08

In terms of online engagement, art galleries reported almost 12 million unique online visits in 2007-08, and almost 50 million page views during that year.

This far exceeds the website visitation of social history and historic site websites, but is less than that of ‘other museums’, including natural history and science museums such as Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Table 3 - Summary of on-line visits to non-commercial art galleries/museums in Australia

Museum typeNo. of museumsTotal webpage viewsTotal unique visitsAverage unique visits per museum
Art museums165493181198773
Social history museums71227495870412
Historic sites24716237
Other museums5941194698


Australia Council-funded visual arts organisations produced 233 new works in 2011, and generated over 4 million exhibition attendances

The Australia Council supports 39 visual arts organisations with regular funding – including galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations.

In 2011, these regularly funded visual arts organisations produced 233 new Australian works (e.g. commissioning of new contemporary visual art works). They also recorded over 4 million attendances. The majority of these attendances were at exhibitions with a small proportion going to visual arts performance events.

Table 5 - Summary of visual arts organisations in Australia - 2011

‘Key Organisations’ supported with multi-year funding:Number of orgsNew Australian worksExhibition attendancesPerformance attendances
Visual arts organisations 3923340803287793
All arts organisations14994746614691331790


Commercial art galleries manage over 16,000 relationships with visual artists

The ABS estimated that there were 514 commercial art galleries operating in Australia during 1999-2000. This included 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) art centres and 483 other commercial art galleries.

These galleries provided over 16,000 on-going ‘representations’ for visual artists.[1] The average number of artists represented by ATSI art centres was 93, compared to 29 artists for other commercial art galleries.

In 1999–2000, commercial art gallery businesses had total sales of artworks of $218 million. Two thirds of this ($145 million) related to commission income from the sale of works on behalf of others.  One third related to sales of works owned by the gallery.

Represented artists shared in over $100m in commission income generated through the sale of their artwork by commercial galleries in that year. That is equivalent to over $6,000 per represented artist.

The ABS reports that in 2007-08 commercial art galleries charged a higher average commission for the sale of Indigenous visual artworks (40 per cent), compared to the work of non-Indigenous Australian visual artists (29 percent) and those from overseas (17 percent) in 1999-2000.

[1]   Artists represented on an ongoing basis are defined as the number of artists who have an agreement with a commercial art gallery to represent them by regularly displaying or promoting the sale of their artworks. This figure includes double counting as a commercial art gallery could represent more than one visual artist. As such it is not a representation of the total visual artist population.


Attendance - Participation - Visual Arts
Tag : galleries

With around 11 million visitors a year, galleries are now more highly attended than Australia’s most popular spectator sport, Australian Rules Football, which had 10 million attendances in 2009-10.


Almost 40 percent of Australians attend visual arts and craft presentations, exhibitions and festivals each year

The Australia Council’s survey of arts participation showed that thirty-eight percent of Australians attended a visual arts and craft event in 2009, with over half of these attendees (54 percent or 21 percent of all Australians) going to an exhibition of a painting, drawing or street art.

Digital or video art was the least attended type of visual arts event with only 17 percent of visual arts attendees (or seven percent of all Australians) going to these events.

Visual arts and craft events were attended, on average, twice as often as other artforms over a 12 month period. Among those who attend each artform, visual arts were attended 14 times a year compared to six times for music and theatre and dance audiences.

Craft events had the highest number of attendances at 16 times a year, while sculpture and installation art events had the least number of attendances at 10 times per year.


Attendance at art galleries is on the rise and there is an opportunity to build attendance further

In 2009-10 over 4.5 million Australians aged 15 years and over visited an art gallery (26 percent of the Australian population).

This represented a significant increase (14 percent) in the participation rate in 2005-06.  A greater proportion of Australians are visiting galleries once or twice per year (66 percent) with one in 10 visiting galleries six times or more.

The proportion of Australians who visited a gallery once a year has risen from 8.3 percent in 2005-06 to 10.4 percent in 2009-10.

There is an opportunity to continue building engagement with these visitors and grow attendance.


Audiences are less likely to use the internet before, during or after attending visual arts events compared with other artform events

The very nature of visual arts attendance is more spontaneous than attendance for other art events and there is often no need to plan or research the event prior to attending (particularly since attendance at most events does not require a booking).  As such visual arts attendees were less likely to engage online before, during or after the event.

However, visual arts festival attendees were more likely than other visual arts attendees to engage online before and after the event. For example, visual arts festival attendees were more likely to engage in online word of mouth before (36 percent vs. 22 percent) and after (37 percent vs. 26 percent) the event.

Craft festival and fair attendees were also more likely than other visual arts attendees to engage in online word of mouth before (39 percent vs. 22 percent), but less likely to do this after the event (18 percent vs. 26 percent).

With current low levels of online engagement, private gallery attendees were interested in the prospect of accessing online images and videos before attending events in future.

Table 7 - Use of the internet at each stage of the 'attendance journey' - arts attendees and visual arts and craft attendees

Total arts attendees Visual arts attendees
At the event31%29%
After the event66%60%


Visual arts audiences express strong interest in online engagement at events

A small proportion of visual arts event attendees (such as visitors to a gallery or attendees at craft fairs) used the internet at events in 2010.

However, there was strong interest to do so in future. Key areas of interest include:

  • Finding out more information about events and artists
  • Receiving information from event organisers
  • Engaging with the creators or contributing to the event.


Government support - Support - Visual Arts
Tag : galleries

Government funding of $330 million ensures art museums can open their doors for free to over 10 million visitors a year. This represents a cost of $0.04 per Australian per day.

Visual arts organisations also lead the arts sector in generating private sector support for their work, generating 24% of the $221 million donations and sponsorship earned by the arts in 2009-10.


After several periods of growth public funding for visual arts has declined slightly

The ABS reports that funding for visual arts fell slightly in real terms between 2009-10 and 2010-11. Whilst local government funding levels were not reported in 2010-11, funding from the Australian and State/Territory Governments declined 7 percent to $324.7 million.

In 2009-10, when fuller data was available, ABS figures show government funding for visual arts at the national, state and local levels was almost $400 million. This represented six percent of total cultural funding and was more than the funding received by other artform areas:

  • Visual arts – $398.3m (6.0 percent)
  • Theatre – $61.2m (0.9 percent)
  • Dance – $32.4m (0.5 percent)
  • Music – $160m (2.4 percent)
  • Literature – $48.8m (0.7 percent)


ABS statistics show that funding for visual arts and craft by the Australian, State and Territory and Local Governments has grown in several periods between 1994 and 2010 – with the first drop in funding being recorded in 2009-10. Small declines were seen in 2009-10 at the Local, State and Federal levels and in 2010-11 at the State and Federal levels.


Australia’s art museums receive $330 of the $400 million in government funding for visual arts

Most funding for visual arts relates to Australia’s public art museums, including the major State art museums such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and other art museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and National Portrait Gallery. Government funding of $330 million was provided to art museums in 2009-10.

In 2009-10, $68.7m or 17 percent went to other parts of the visual arts sector, representing one percent of total cultural funding.

Table 8 - Government spending on visual arts and craft – all levels

Art museumsVisual arts and craftTotal funding
Australian Government ($m)90.130.6120.7
State & Territory Governments ($m)187.138.1225.2
Local Governments ($m)52.4-52.4
Total ($m)329.668.7398.3
Per person ($)15.583.117.83


Private sector support - Support - Visual Arts

Visual arts organisations generated $53 million in private sector support in 2009-10 – more than any other art form

In terms of philanthropy and sponsorship earnings, art galleries outperform other parts of the arts sector generating almost a quarter of total earnings.

In an AbaF survey of 318 arts organisations, it was estimated that $221 million in private sector support was generated by the arts in 2010-11. The visual arts generated $53 million of this amount.

Art galleries earn most of their support through philanthropic giving ($40 million), with sponsorship making up a smaller but still notable share ($11 million).

In contrast, visual arts, craft and design organisations participating in the survey were estimated to earn just $2 million in private sector support, and most of this was generated through sponsorship (increasing from $0.9 million in 2008-09 to $1.5 million in 2009-10).


Visual arts organisations generate higher levels of private sector support than other arts organisations regularly funded by the Australia Council

Looking at organisations regularly funded through the Australia Council, visual arts organisations (including galleries, arts and craft centres, festivals and service organisations) earn well above other arts organisations from private revenue sources – although earnings in 2011 were lower[1] than 2010 levels.

In 2011, 40 surveyed visual arts organisations earned an average private sector income of $302,500 (compared with $360,000 in 2010), generating over $12 million in total.

However, ‘It’s a given’ found that earning levels were not uniform from organisation to organisation, and identified four visual arts organisations who earn 81.2 percent of total private sector support for visual arts.

This sample includes organisations operating on a biannual cycle, such as the Biennale of Sydney, which may influence the fluctuations in the data.

[1]   The overall decrease in private sector support for funded visual arts organisations has been driven by a decrease in corporate sponsorship for visual arts companies. This trend is consistent with a 20 percent decline in sponsorship revenues across the arts sector from 2010 to 2011.