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4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2008 (First Edition)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/05/2008   
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FEATURE ARTICLE 1: ART GALLERIES FACT SHEET


ON THIS PAGE

What is an art gallery/art museum?

How many art galleries are there in Australia?

How many people go to art galleries?

Are some people more likely to visit art galleries than others?

How many artworks are held in art museums?

What other services do art galleries provide?

How many people work in art galleries?

How are art galleries funded?

How do I find an art gallery?

References


WHAT IS AN ART GALLERY/ART MUSEUM?

The term 'art galleries' can be used to refer to art museums (including national and state/territory art galleries, and other public art galleries) and/or commercial art galleries.

Art museums are defined as 'units mainly engaged in the acquisition, collection management, conservation, interpretation, communication and exhibition of visual arts and crafts on the basis of their aesthetic and historic value' (Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications, 2001 (ACLC) (cat. no. 4902.0)). Visual arts and crafts cover a broad range of art forms including but not limited to drawings, paintings, photographic works of art, jewellery, sculpture, carvings, glass and metal crafts.

Commercial art galleries are units which are mainly engaged in retailing visual arts and crafts objects. The ACLC classification of art museums excludes commercial art galleries and sites that provide exhibition spaces for developing artists. (These functions are contained separately in the classification 'Visual arts and craft retailing' and 'Arts n.e.c.').

Some of the data presented in this article come from surveys which have collected information specifically on 'art museums' as defined by the ACLC. However, most of the data come from surveys which have allowed respondents to interpret the term 'public art galleries', and thus may include information on both art museums and commercial art galleries.

For the purpose of this article, the general term 'art galleries' will be used unless referring to surveys which have used the ACLC definition in which case 'art museums' will be used.

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HOW MANY ART GALLERIES ARE THERE IN AUSTRALIA?

Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0) provides information on the performance, structure and activity of museums and art museums in Australia. There were 160 art museums operating in Australia at the end of June 2004. The majority of all museums (including art museums and other museums) were located in New South Wales (31.1%), Victoria (21.5%) and Queensland (17.5%), the three most populous states.

The above data provides information about art museums, however it does not include commercial art galleries. There is no recent ABS data about commercial art galleries available. The most recent ABS survey of commercial art galleries, conducted in June 2000, found that there were 514 commercial art gallery businesses operating in Australia. Of these 514 commercial art galleries, 31 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres and 483 other commercial art galleries (Commercial Art Galleries, Australia, 1999-2000 (cat. no. 8651.0)).

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HOW MANY PEOPLE GO TO ART GALLERIES?

The ABS report, Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4114.0) found that approximately 3.6 million people, or nearly one quarter (23%) of all people in Australia aged 15 years and over, visited art galleries in the 12 months before interview. Most of these people (63%) had visited an art gallery just once or twice in the 12 month period.

According to Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0), 995,200 children visited a museum or art gallery outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2006. The rate of attendance was similar for boys (38%) and girls (36%) and the same for children aged 5 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years (40%). Older children aged 12-14 years were less likely to attend art galleries, with a lower attendance rate of 31%. Data for children's attendance at art galleries alone was not available.

As reported in Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0), there were 11.5 million admissions to art museums in the 12 months prior to interview, with the majority of these (87%) being free admissions. Admissions to art museums accounted for nearly two fifths (37%) of total admissions for all museums.

It is important to note the difference between the number of visitors as reported by the Attendance publication and the number of visits as reported by Museums, Australia. Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4114.0) reported that 3.6 million people visited art galleries, while Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0) reported that there were 11.5 million visits to art museums. These figures are vastly different because the Attendance publication reports on data collected in relation to 'visitors' while Museums, Australia reports on number of 'visits'. For the Attendance publication, data are collected about whether each respondent has visited a selected cultural event or venue in the past 12 months and, if so, how frequently they have visited. Regardless of how many times a respondent has visited a selected cultural venue or event in the 12 month reference period, they are counted as one visitor. This differs from the Museums, Australia publication where a visit can count the same visitor returning numerous times. So, one person visiting art galleries 10 times in 12 months would be counted as one visitor in the Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events publication, but as 10 visits in Museums, Australia.

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ARE SOME PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO VISIT ART GALLERIES THAN OTHERS?

The Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group published a report entitled The Social and Demographic Characteristics of Cultural Attendees in 2006 using data from the ABS' 2002 General Social Survey. This report found that the following characteristics were associated with art gallery attendance:

  • Females in every age group except 18-24 year olds were more likely to visit an art gallery than males.
  • Likelihood of attending art galleries increased with age, with people aged 45 years and over more likely to visit art galleries than those aged 18-34 years.
  • People living in Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory were more likely to visit art galleries than people in New South Wales.
  • People born in Australia were more likely to visit art galleries than those born in a non-main English speaking country.
  • People without children were more likely to visit art galleries than families with dependent children.
  • Part-time workers (1-34 hours a week) were more likely to attend art galleries than those who worked full-time (35 hours or more per week).
  • People living in areas that were less disadvantaged (according to SEIFA) were more likely to attend art galleries than those living in more disadvantaged areas. However, among those who attended art galleries, people living in the most disadvantaged areas were more likely to attend frequently than those in the middle SEIFA quintile. More information about SEIFA is available from Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing -- Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 2039.0).
  • More highly educated people were more likely to visit art galleries.
  • Those who had a computer at home were more likely to visit art galleries.
  • People who were able to raise $2,000 for an emergency within a week were more likely to go to art galleries.
  • People who felt safe or very safe at home alone after dark were more likely to attend art galleries than those who felt unsafe or very unsafe or who were never home alone after dark.
  • People who stated that they were in excellent health were more likely to attend art galleries than those who said they were in poor health.
  • People with at least weekly contact with family and friends were more likely to visit art galleries than those who had less frequent contact.

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HOW MANY ARTWORKS ARE HELD IN ART MUSEUMS?

The primary functions of art museums include the collection and exhibition of visual artworks. Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0) reports that art museums operating in Australia held 2.9 million artworks at the end of June 2004. There was a total of 54.9 million objects and artworks held by museums including art museums, but only 9.7% (5.3 million) of these were on display for public viewing. During the year ending 30 June 2004, art museums purchased artworks totalling $28.7 million. This made up 83% of the money that all museums - including art museums - spent on purchasing artworks or objects in the 2003-04 financial year.

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WHAT OTHER SERVICES DO ART GALLERIES PROVIDE?

In addition to their regular displays of art, galleries often host special exhibitions. These special exhibitions generally are on display for less than three months and are either developed in-house or are touring or imported exhibitions. During 2003-04, a total of 1,612 special exhibitions were held in art museums, according to Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0). Many art galleries also offer other services such as talks, tours and activities for children. For example, the website for the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (http://www.nga.gov.au) provides a calendar of events which includes exhibitions, guided tours, talks and lectures and events suitable for families and children such as hands-on activities and workshops.

Another service provided by art galleries is the retailing of artworks. This is also the primary function of commercial art galleries. Although there is no current ABS data available on sales by art galleries, information can be obtained through other sources. For example, the Australian Art Sales Directory (AASD) at http://www.aasd.com.au provides data on sales of artworks by auction houses in Australia.

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HOW MANY PEOPLE WORK IN ART GALLERIES?

Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2007 (cat. no. 6281.0) reports on data that includes both those people who are paid and those who are not paid for their work. The publication reports that 49,200 people aged 15 years or over had some work involvement in art galleries. About 30% of these (14,900 people) received some payment for their work, while 34,300 people worked in art galleries on a volunteer basis.

Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0) found that 2,081 people were employed in art museums at the end of June 2004. It also reports that there were 3,125 people working as volunteers in art museums during the month of June 2004.

The Census of Population and Housing collects data about the occupation and industry for the main job held by people in Australia for the week before Census Night. The 2006 Census found that 6,400 people worked in the Museum operation industry as their main job (i.e. where they worked the most hours). The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) class Museum operation 8910 includes people working for art museums and other museums. Data for art museums cannot be separated from data for other museums within this ANZSIC class. Two fifths (41%) of museum and art museum employees worked in cultural occupations such as museum and gallery attendants, curators, conservators or technicians. The remaining 59% were in non-cultural occupations including specialist managers, project and program administrators, security officers, general clerks, tour guides and education officers.

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HOW ARE ART GALLERIES FUNDED?

Art museums are mainly involved in the collection and public exhibition of artworks and are more likely to receive government funding than commercial art galleries, which are primarily involved in the retailing of artworks.

Museums, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8560.0) reported on sources of income for museums and art museums, including funding by governments. Overall, 62% of art museums' income was funding provided by the three levels of government ($200.4m). The remainder consisted of income from admissions ($8.8m), fundraising ($62.0m) and other sources of income ($53.7m). Of the $628.0m in government funding for art museums and other museums, $47.2m (7.5%) was from local governments.

According to Cultural Funding by Government, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4183.0), the Australian government gave $54.7 million to art museums in the year ending 30 June 2006. This equated to approximately $2.77 per person and was an increase in funding of 18% from the previous year, 2004-05. In 2005-06, art museums received $214.0 million in funding from the state and territory governments, an increase of 25% from the previous year. The largest amount of funding was given to art museums by the Queensland state government ($91.9m), followed by the governments of New South Wales ($48.6m) and Victoria ($43.5m). However, the Northern Territory had the highest funding for art museums per person ($38.93), more than three times the national average ($10.84 per person) for state and territory government funding.

Cultural Funding by Government, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4183.0) reported that the total amount of local government funding of arts and cultural activities was $973.2m. A more detailed breakdown of local government funding was not collected in the survey of Cultural Funding by Government.

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HOW DO I FIND AN ART GALLERY?

The Collections Australia Network at http://www.collectionsaustralia.net acts as a public gateway to collecting institutions across Australia. The website allows users to search for current exhibitions and cultural heritage institutions, including art galleries, by location or type of institution.

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REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06, cat. no. 4114.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006, cat. no. 1292.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications, 2001, cat. no. 4902.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2006, cat. no. 4901.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Commercial Art Galleries, Australia, 1999-2000, cat. no. 8651.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cultural Funding by Government, Australia, 2005-06, cat. no. 4183.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Information Paper: Census of Population and Housing - Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia, 2001, cat. no. 2039.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Museums, Australia, 2003-04, cat. no. 8560.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2007, cat. no. 6281.0, ABS, Canberra.

Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group, The Social and Demographic Characteristics of Cultural Attendees, October 2006, prepared for CMCSWG by the NCCRS of the ABS, published by CMCSWG, <www.culturaldata.gov.au>.

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