Art Gallery of Alberta offering free admission evenings
Admission will be free 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of growth strategy
The Art Gallery of Alberta is offering free admission to everyone on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, beginning tonight, in an effort to get more people through their doors.
Admission fees will be waived between 5 and 8 p.m. on those days.
This is the second initiative the gallery has announced as part of its free-access strategy.
"Over the last five weeks we've seen about 1,100 more people coming through," said Catherine Crowston, AGA executive director.
That is double the number of visitors over the previous five weeks, Crowston said.
The AGA has been offering free admission the last Thursday evening of each month, which saw about 300 people come in, she said.
The gallery will no longer be open on Thursday evenings with the new promotion coming on stream.
On a regular Thursday evening, the AGA would see 20 to 25 paying customers, she said.
"We're hoping we're going to draw numbers that are closer to 200 to 300 people on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, as we go into this new initiative," Crowston said.
Attendance numbers waning
The AGA has experienced rising operating costs since opening in 2010.
The gallery hosted 108,000 visitors in its first year, but averaged little more than 50,000 people annually since.
Strong attendance numbers are necessary to draw corporate donations, said Coun. Scott McKeen.
"All of us want this facility to be a going concern," said McKeen.
"There may always be somewhat of a subsidy for art flagships like this, but one would hope at some point that this community would see it as enough of a draw that they would be supporting it," he said.
Along with the change in operating hours Zinc restaurant, which is housed in the AGA, is launching a Tuesday tapas menu.
Every item on the menu is priced under $20, with most items under $12.
A third initiative of the free-acess strategy will be announced in July, Crowston said.