The Museum of Contemporary Art
has recorded its highest ever annual attendance figure with 533,353 people visiting MCA exhibitions during 2008. An additional 77,492 people attended MCA exhibitions at regional and interstate galleries.
The record-breaking year continues a strong growth trend for the MCA and represents a 27% increase year-on-year compared to 2007.
Participation in MCA education programs also reached an all-time high in 2008 – up 40% with a record 27,802 students taking part in MCA programs last year.
"We are delighted that the MCA’s stimulating range of exhibition and education programs is reaching a wide audience,” said MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor.
“The growing popularity of the MCA is proof that contemporary art can be accessible, enjoyable and enlightening.
“On the back of this growth, the MCA is entering an exciting new era as we move forward with our redevelopment plans which will see the Museum transformed into a global hub for contemporary art," said Ms Macgregor.
MCA’s touring program will bring new international audiences to MCA exhibitions in 2009. In February, two major MCA exhibitions open in the USA and New Zealand, with Yinka Shonibare MBE opening at the Auckland Art Gallery and an exhibition of film and video works from the MCA's permanent collection opening at the MCA San Diego.
Ms Macgregor believes the trend will continue in 2009, commenting: “We are looking to continue to attract wider audiences in 2009 with a program that includes two major exhibitions by celebrated international artists Yayoi Kusama and Olafur Eliasson, as well as our annual Primavera exhibition of young Australian artists. We will also present solo exhibitions of respected Australian indigenous artists Ricky Maynard and Fiona Foley.”
Audiences to the MCA have grown four-fold over the past nine years, since free admission to the MCA was initiated in 2000 as part of a sponsorship arrangement with Telstra.