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The Broad Museum Attracts 820,000+ Visitors in Inaugural Year
Attendance nearly triple pre-opening projections as diverse audience flocks to L.A.’s newest contemporary art museum
Photo by Jamie Pham
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20, 2016—In its inaugural year, The Broad attracted more than 820,000 visitor—nearly triple its pre-opening projections and the largest first-year attendance of a new art institution in the U.S. in recent years, the museum announced today. The Broad’s visitors also reflected unprecedented diversity for an art museum, attracting a dramatically younger, more ethnically diverse audience than the national average.
With free general admission, striking architecture and one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art, The Broad has continued to attract lines around the block since opening on Sept. 20, 2015.
“Edye and I could not be more delighted with the public reception to the museum,” said founder Eli Broad, who with his wife, Edythe, gifted the $140 million museum and 2,000-work art collection to the public. “Our goal has always been to share our art with the broadest possible public, and our first year has exceeded all of our expectations.”
The Broad’s first-year attendance of 823,216 puts it in the top 80 art museums worldwide in terms of annual attendance and in the top 15 U.S. art museums.
The Broad’s visitors reflect the diversity of Southern California and the dynamism of contemporary art. The percentage of ethnically diverse visitors is nearly three times the average of other art museums around the country—62 percent of visitors to The Broad identify their ethnicity as other than Caucasian, compared with a national art museum average of 23 percent [Morey Group, 2015 National Art Museum Benchmark Report]. The average visitor to The Broad is 33 years old—more than 12 years younger than the national art museum average. The Broad also continues to attract a large family audience with 17 percent of parties including children, compared to the national art museum average of 11 percent. More than 80 percent of The Broad’s visitors said they had very little or a modest knowledge of contemporary art.
“The public’s incredible embrace of this institution in our first year has been immensely gratifying,” said Founding Director Joanne Heyler. “Introducing a younger generation to contemporary art was one of our primary goals, and our numbers show that we’ve been able to connect with a generation of Angelenos and visitors from around the world who may now appreciate culture and art for many decades.”
The museum’s diverse programming—from its inaugural installation featuring a sweeping journey through the Broad collection of postwar and contemporary art to its first special exhibition Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life to its regular offerings of film series, art talks and popular Saturday night summer concerts and performances throughout the museum on and the adjacent public plaza—has helped to draw visitors from around the city.
The Broad has proven to be a popular destination for local visitors, with 60 percent coming from Los Angeles County and 22 percent residing in other regions around the state. Nine percent of visitors came from other states, with international visitors accounting for 13 percent.
The Broad’s economic impact on the region in its first year has been significant. The museum generated more than $54 million in economic benefit to Los Angeles County, creating 490 jobs with labor income of $24 million. The museum also generated $8.2 million in local, state and federal tax revenue, according to a study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. To access the full report, click the following link:
Since The Broad opened, the urban experience along Grand Avenue has flourished. Pedestrian traffic has visibly increased, and street life has expanded exponentially with food trucks and street musicians appearing daily and restaurants in the area extending their hours. Otium, the restaurant adjacent to The Broad, continues to be at capacity every day.
“The Broad has been an outstanding addition to Downtown Los Angeles—it’s an incredible museum that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the heart of our city, and has strengthened L.A.’s place as a world capital of contemporary art,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Eli and Edye Broad have shown extraordinary generosity and a true commitment to the arts that is giving Angelenos and visitors alike a one-of-a-kind experience.”
The museum attributes the diversity and youth of its audience to several factors: free general admission, a centralized downtown location, striking architecture, galleries filled with some of the world’s most significant works of contemporary art, and word of mouth—nearly half of visitors heard about the museum from The Broad’s or someone else’s social media.
Additionally, the museum’s new approach to visitor services, which has drawn the interest of museums around the world, has also served to change the museum experience. Rather than a traditional seated admissions desk in the lobby and museum guards in the galleries, The Broad has a team of over 100 visitor services associates, who also represent the diversity of The Broad’s visitors, and who serve as on-site resources. In addition to greeting visitors and scanning their tickets, these associates are stationed throughout the museum and galleries, ready to answer questions or offer information about the art, artists, architecture, other Grand Avenue cultural institutions and even local restaurant recommendations.
To celebrate its one-year anniversary with visitors, The Broad distributed festive birthday hats and partnered with Sprinkles to give visitors free specially designed Broad birthday cupcakes. Otium Chef Tim Hollingsworth created two special menu items to commemorate the museum’s first year: an Andy Warhol- inspired clam chowder and a cocktail inspired by Jeff Koons’ iconic work Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
The Broad also released a video featuring the museum’s friends and supporters wishing The Broad a happy first birthday. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWnEBKVAC-qqUVE-DlTMFEA/videos.
Photos and b-roll of the museum’s first year are available at www.thebroad.org/press.
The Broad offers free general admission to all. Tickets for the Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life special exhibition, closing Oct. 2, are $12 for adults and free for visitors 17 and under, and include general admission access. Advance timed tickets are available beginning on the first of each month at noon for the following month (i.e. on Oct. 1 at noon, tickets for November will be available for advance reservation). Free general admission tickets have been consistently booked for months in advance since the museum opened. The museum has a daily standby line, which has its own Twitter account (@TheBroadStandby) where visitors can get the latest wait times.
The Broad’s third-floor skylit galleries continue to show a robust and changing selection of works from the Broad collection, while the first-floor galleries will show a rotating program of special exhibitions and collection installations. After Cindy Sherman ends, the first-floor galleries will be closed for installation from Oct. 4 to Nov. 4. On Nov. 5, a new collection installation, Creature, will fill the museum’s first-floor galleries with more than 50 works presenting approaches to figuration and selfhood in the Broad collection. The Broad also recently announced that a seven-decade survey exploring the celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms will be traveling to the museum in fall 2017.
About The Broad
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, opened Sept. 20, 2015 with free general admission. The museum is home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and serves as the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.
For more information on The Broad and to sign up for updates, please visit thebroad.org.