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Successful Anniversary Year Boosts Meijer Gardens Attendance and Membership
Dale Chihuly, “Summer Sun”. In the background are Alexander Calder’s “Two Discs” and Jonathan Borofsky’s “Male/Female.” Photo by Scott Leen.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.- During its 15-year anniversary, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has reached record-breaking levels in visitor attendance and membership. During Fiscal Year 2010, which ended September 30, Meijer Gardens attracted a record 643,031 visitors. Its membership base grew to a record 20,653 member households.

In recent years, attendance at Meijer Gardens has averaged approximately a half-million visitors annually. However, in Fiscal Year 2010, attendance rates surpassed the previous record – set in 2005 – by 17 percent. In just 15 years, Meijer Gardens has seen more than 6.3 million guests, making it one of the most-visited art museums in the world.*

The popular “Chihuly: A New Eden” attracted guests across the North America and 44 of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, and as far away as Europe, South America and Asia. Nearly 46 percent of the year’s total visitors came during “A New Eden.”

“Chihuly’s work is so appealing to a very broad audience,” said David Hooker, President and CEO of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “Many of our visitors have seen his work before but came to appreciate the unique setting our gardens and Sculpture Park offer. The blend of horticulture and sculpture is simply magnificent.”

A more robust Summer Concert Series attracted record crowds. The series welcomed more than 27,400 concertgoers, with a record number of ten sellouts. Other annual exhibitions including Butterflies Are Blooming and Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around The World also saw greater numbers than previous years.

In recent years, annual memberships at Meijer Gardens have held steady around 17,000 member households, but this year, the amount of memberships spiked to more than 20,000, an all-time high.

“It’s never been a more exciting time to be a member of Meijer Gardens,” said Hooker. “We hope this memorable anniversary year has helped visitors embrace the special mission of this organization, and they will continue to stay involved.”

“Chihuly: A New Eden” ends on October 31. The indoor sculpture gallery exhibition “Sculptors Celebrate the Legacy of Fred and Lena Meijer” closes on January 2. This exclusive group exhibition features works by 26 of the world’s most important artists working today, all of whom are represented in the organization’s permanent collection.

In 2011, Meijer Gardens will complete upgrades to its outdoor amphitheater prior to the start of the concert series. Upcoming sculpture exhibitions include “Jim Dine: Sculpture,” “Laura Ford: Actual, Factual Fables,” and “Sculpture Today: New Forces, New Forms.” Horticultural exhibitions will include “Butterflies Are Blooming,” “Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around The World,” and an autumn exhibition.

*Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park was ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums in the world by “The Art Newspaper,” the leading publication in global art news in its April 2010 edition.

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