Say what you like about it, but more than 450,000 people fed their curiosity and took in Saskatoon’s new public art gallery, the Remai Modern, during the past year.
That’s more people than comprise the proper City of Saskatoon population (which stood at 246,376 according to 2016 census data).
More astonishing is that the Remai Modern was only projecting around 190,000 visits during its inaugural year.
Now charging admission
The most dramatic change outside of the new building itself is the fact that the Remai Modern is now charging admission over its free-access predecessor, the Mendel Art Gallery.
The Mendel relied on a suggested donation model, but the Remai Modern collected more than $360,000 through admission fees from opening in October 2017 through this fall.
This is welcome news for all shareholders, who watched the construction budget balloon from $58 million when announced in 2009 to approximately $84 million at its completion.
Can Remai Modern keep up the momentum?
As one of those 450,000 attendees, I certainly hope the Remai Modern can continue to build on its success.
The gallery plans to continue hosting not only regular exhibits but also special events; this included the sold-out crowd for the North Saskatoon Business Association’s entrepreneur spotlight Popcorn Series.
Memberships also surpassed expectations, totalling 9,138 people in 4,884 households.
An active membership is a great indicator of the community buy-in, as well as the 20,000 people who showed up for free days sponsored by Rawlco Radio.