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Cincinnati Art Museum celebrates record attendance: Third highest on record
Thomas Gainsborough, Ann Ford (later Mrs. Philip Thicknesse), 1760, oil on canvas, 77 5/8 x 53 1/8 in. (197.2 x 134.9 cm), Cincinnati Art Museum, Bequest of Mary M. Emery (1927.396). Photo: Scott Hisey.

CINCINNATI.- In an all staff meeting today Director Aaron Betsky confirmed what had been rumored for weeks: the Cincinnati Art Museum has just finished it’s last fiscal year with the third highest visitor attendance in the history of the art museum. From September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2011, 272,352 people visited the museum to see Wedded Perfection, Arms and Armor, Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman, The Way We Are Now: The 21c Collection, Not Just Pretty Pictures: The Carl Jacobs Collection, and The Amazing American Circus Poster. While they came for our world class exhibitions they stayed for our lectures, educational programs, Museum Shop, and Terrace Café, all of which saw significant increase in attendance and revenue this past year.

Betsky commented: “We are so happy that we have been able to share these great works of art with so many in our community this last year. Our staff did a great job assembling the exhibitions, telling everybody about them, educating our public, and creating a welcoming atmosphere for all. Being free, thanks to the generosity of Dick and Lois Rosenthal, certainly helps in these difficult economic times, but we also are happy that so many out there share our enthusiasm about great art and what a great place we are.“

What makes this number so impressive is that visitors came to the Cincinnati Art Museum to see exhibitions that came from our own permanent collections. In 1982-83, when attendance was 311, 006, the travelling exhibit Treasures from the Tower of London stopped here. In 2000-2001 when there were 301,647 visitors, the Art Museum brought another blockbuster travelling exhibit to town, European Masterpieces: Five Centuries of Paintings from the National Gallery of Victoria Australia.

According to Director Aaron Betsky, ”this shows that this community is proud of the collection of over sixty thousand objects we hold in trust for all of us, and that they will come to see it if we present it in an exciting manner. We intend to do so as we renovate and expand our galleries in the coming years, starting with the Schmidlapp Wing, which will open this fall.”

This coming exhibition season, the Art Museum hopes for even better attendance with exhibitions on Art Deco design, Monet, Picasso, Musical Instruments, the Sound Suits of Nick Cave, and the biblical scenes of Henry Ossawa Tanner. Said Betsky: “We’re just getting started, if you come back here, you will always something to amaze and delight you.”

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September 10, 2011

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