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News: AGO Revenue Falls Short of Expectations

Any thoughts on this article from today’s Globe and Mail?

Facing a huge revenue shortfall, and with too few people passing through its doors, the Art Gallery of Ontario is considering laying off 61 permanent and 47 contract employees next month….

art_gallery_of_ontario03.jpg
The view from the back. Image: architecturepeanuts.blogspot.com

..Less than three weeks before the end of its fiscal year, AGO revenues are 20 per cent below projections, according to Susan Bloch-Nevitt, the gallery’s executive director of public affairs. Some 343,000 people have visited the redesigned Frank Gehry building since it opened in mid-November, roughly 16 per cent shy of the 400,000 visitors gallery officials had expected to see by March 31.

Read full article HERE.

8 Responses to “News: AGO Revenue Falls Short of Expectations”

  1. Bill says:

    Maybe they could extend opening hours a bit more during the week so those of us who work 9 to 5 jobs would have more opportunities to visit?

  2. Closed on Monday, open till 5:30 on Tuesday & Friday. I agree with Bill they should consider the majority of the public who work 9-5. I dont think layoffs are answer.

  3. The AGO has done a lot of marketing, advertising and received some wonderful press. So what is keeping people away? Sure, hours – I agree that one or two nights late is a great idea. But I also wonder if it is the steep admission costs that keep people away.

  4. Bill says:

    A high admission doesn’t get more people in the door, that’s for sure. And it makes the place seem more like a temple for the elite to go worship in. I’m now thinking of the TTC, which complains about dropping ridership, so they screw those of us who have no choice but to take it during the winter by raising fares. (Though I’m on my bike now that the weather is better, so pppfffftttt to you, TTC for the next several months!). Anyway, it seems that the decision makers poo-poo the idea of actually dropping admissions/fares for no good reason other than it flies in the face of conventional thinking. If the TTC was $2.00, I’d probably hop on and off it more often rather than walking. If the AGO was $10, I’d probably go more often, BUT would I feel it necessary to buy a proper membership if the admission was so low, though I guess they could drop the cost of membership, too.

    I also think they should do more aggressive marketing with schools if they don’t do that already. It should be mandatory for all schools to take kids to the AGO! The AGO should petition the Toronto School Board or something! I’ve yet to go to the Contemporary Art Museum in Montreal on a day when there was NOT hoards of teenagers on field trips there.

  5. Andrea says:

    At least you get your money’s worth at the AGO…which is more than I can say about the ROM (at $22 the last time I was there)

  6. A.K. says:

    I LOVE THE AGO and I hope they can find a creative way to retain as much of their staff as possible. Maybe I am a “glass half full” optimist, but I think given the realities of the global economic downturn, the fact that the AGO has been able to come so close to their attendance objectives should be a cause for celebration. 343,000 sounds pretty good to me, under the circumstances. Yes, I wish the admission fees were lower, and that the hours were more accommodating to working people. Definitely yes to wishing the place was full of schoolkids on a regular basis…they’ll be the patrons and supporters of the future.
    Aside from the attendance revenues, the two other big contributors to the bottom line are retail/restaurant sales and corporate events bookings.
    The retail shop and the restaurant are not living up to expectations revenue-wise, but retail and restaurants are in trouble everywhere in Toronto. The AGO is no exception. However, that does beg the question of how healthy or wise it is for museums to have come bank so heavily on their gift shops for revenue: it just feels sort of off-mission in a lowest-common-denominator way.
    And what can you say about all the cancelled and downsized corporate events and parties? Cancelling an event in a gorgeous setting like the AGO in favour of take-out pizza in the boardroom won’t do anything for company morale. So come on guys! Get out there and party!

  7. Stevie Jakobsen says:

    get a grip glass half full! management are being assholes as usual, they’ll probably cut the exact places that should be left alone – education – those same people working so hard to get the school kids in the door, either that or the maintenance department, the men and women i saw putting out plastic buckets to catch the numerous leakes from the new starchitecture.

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