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Five years after completing its extension the Prado receives more than 3 million visitors
Chinese painter Sun Wengong works on his painting, a copy of Vicente Lopez's painting "El pintor Francisco de Goya" (Painter Francisco de Goya) at the Prado Museum in Madrid on January 25, 2013. Chinese artists from the state academy and the China Academy of Art are due to make first-hand copies of some of the jewels of European oil painting and take them back to China to use for teaching. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET.
MADRID.- Five years after completion of the Prado’s most recent and ambitious extension project in its history, and as a result of the increase in its activities and services, largely resulting from the new spaces now available, visitors numbers exceeded 3 million for the first time, of which 2.8 million were visits to the Museum in Madrid and 370,000 to “Travelling Prado” exhibitions held in other cities around Spain this year. This figure marks an increase of 8% on 2011, when the total of visitors was 2.9 million. In addition, 60% of the Museum’s income, which totalled more than 24 million Euros, was self-financed this year.

This year (2012) marked the fifth anniversary of the opening of Rafael Moneo’s extension to the Prado. Inaugurated on 30 October 2007 by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain, since that date the new spaces have played a key role in the life of the Museum, allowing for an unprecedented growth in its operational capacities and its programme of activities, from which 14 million people have benefited since that date: an average increase of almost a million visitors a year compared to the previous five-year period. As a result, the Prado has also been able to rise to the challenge represented by the fall in State funding, given that it is now exceptionally well prepared to increase its levels of self-financing.

The extension, comprising the Jerónimos Building and the link between it and the Villanueva Building, the Museum’s original site located next to the Casón del Buen Retiro, has provided an additional 19,952 square metres of surface area. This substantial increase (from the 22,043 square metres available in 2007 to the 41,995 available now, representing a 90.5% increase) has given the Prado the spaces and installations that it needs for curating and conserving one of the world’s most important art collections and for providing the visiting public with the appropriate services and activities.

Summary, 2007-2012
As a result of all the above, over the last five years the Museum has increased its operational capacity and programme of activities in an unprecedented manner, to which the public has similarly responded as never before, resulting in a continuous rise in visitors figures over that period. Since the time of the opening of the new extension the Museum has gone from 2.1 million visitors in 2006 to 2.8 million this year (2012), without including visitors figures for the exhibitions of works from its collections held in other Spanish cities (the “Travelling Prado” programme), which this year saw 370,000 visitors, bringing total visitor numbers this year to almost 3.2 million.

In parallel with this increase in visitors and as a result of its improved and expanded services and activities programme, the Museum has also been able to strengthen its financial position by gradually increasing levels of self-generated income. Self-generated income raised by the Museum during the period in question has increased year on year, from 34.7% in 2007 to 60% this year (2012). Thanks to this increase the Museum has been able to assimilate the gradual decrease in contributions from public funding that has taken place since 2010 due to the current financial situation. Increasing the number of Benefactor Members and maintaining those already affiliated, together with the promotion of various initiatives to improve visitor services, such as opening the collections and temporary exhibitions every day of the week (300,000 people have taken advantage to date of the new Monday opening, launched on 16 January 2012) have also made a decisive contribution to boosting the Museum’s financial independence.

Another significant fact, which has had an effect on both the increase in visitor numbers and on self-generated income, is the significant rise in the number of individual (non-corporate) members of the Fundación Amigos del Prado. Membership has increased from 9,132 “Friends” in 2010 to the present figure of 22,831.



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January 27, 2013

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