New Audience Statistics


The Australia Council has launched a new site – Artfacts – to showcase statistics about Australian arts.  The site utilises statistical information to provide compelling facts about Australia’s galleries, art and artists including the number of people attending galleries and engaged in visual arts and craft to how much visual artists earn and the international connections of Australian arts practice.  Statistics around music and musicians are also provided on the site.  See Artfacts.


Just over 3,000 responses were collected across 18 regional Queensland public galleries and collated into this Queensland report on the museum and gallery sector and its audiences.  See Guess who’s going to the gallery: Queensland Report 2013.


The UK-based Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has published statistics for visits to larger museums and galleries in 2012.  For the sixth year running, the British Museum was top attraction with a shade under 6 million visits (5,575,946), while Tate Modern’s 9% increase in visitor numbers, driven by a Damien Hirst retrospective, moved it up into second place.

Nine of the ten top attractions were in London, but a spectacular 29% increase in visitor numbers to 1,893,521 for the recently refurbished National Museum of Scotland put it in ninth place, and made it the most popular attraction outside the capital.

Museums and art galleries saw a dip in visitors during the London Olympics, but these recovered quickly.  The greatest challenge to visits in 2012 was the poor summer weather: of the 30 attractions which saw a greater than 10% decline in visitors, 27 were based around parks, gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Despite this, across all the attractions listed, there was 5.1% increase in visits, to 92.1 million.  For further details see ALVA.

[Information drawn from NMDC newsletter, April 2013]


The Art Newspaper has published its annual account of the most visited art exhibitions globally.  Rank is determined by the total number of visitors per day.  The most popular was ‘Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis’ at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum with 10,573 visitors each day, followed by shows in Rio de Janeiro, St Petersburg and Washington.

Tate Modern dominates the ‘Big Ticket’ list – shows where the ticket also includes entrance to other attractions.  Their Tino Sehgal, Tanks: Art in Action and Tacita Dean shows are the top three.

Australian art exhibitions making the list included:

  • Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane – Pip and Pop: We Miss You Magic Land (374,500) and Yayoi Kusama (395,271)
  • MCA, Sydney –  18th Biennale of Sydney (239,188)
  • Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney – Picasso from Musee National Picasso, Paris (366,753)
  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney – Harry Potter: The Exhibition (382,739)
  • Melbourne Museum – Top Designs 2012 (123,238)
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image – Game Masters (91,498)

In terms of overall attendance at an art venue, London museums are strongly represented: the British Museum is third (5,575,946) after the Louvre (9,720,260) and Museum of Metropolitan Art (6,115,881), Tate Modern (5,304,710) is fourth and the National Gallery (5,163,902) fifth.

The ‘Top 100 Art Museum Attendance’ list included the following Australian cultural institutions:

  • No. 25 – National Gallery of Victoria (1,571,333)
  • No.31 – Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA (1,480,944
  • No. 45 – Art Gallery of NSW (1,195,176)
  • No. 70 – Australian Centre for Moving Image (922,213)
  • No. 75 – MCA Australia (843,543)
  • No. 82 – Melbourne Museum (783,058)
  • No. 84 – National Gallery of Australia (755,382)
  • No. 96 – National Portrait Gallery (667,383)

For the full list see:
Art Newspaper Visitor Study 2012 Pt 1
Art Newspaper Visitor Survey 2012 Pt 2
Art Newspaper Visitor Study 2012 Pt 3

Art Newspaper Visitor Survey 2012 Pt 4

[Information drawn from NMDC newsletter, April 2013]