What’s the Cost of Museum Exhibitions?

by Glasstire August 31, 2016
How to Put a Museum Exhibition Together

The artist Caitlin Masley at the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, N.Y. Behind Ms. Masley, volunteers filled in her tracings inspired by images of Modernist architecture. Image via NYT.

The New York Times recently published an article chronicling the process of putting on a museum exhibition, as told by professionals from New York and Connecticut. The write-up covers everything from exhibition conception to painting the walls after shows come down. It also covers exhibition budgets:

Expenses for shows with valuable historical pieces lie in crating, shipping and insurance. For contemporary shows, costs veer toward artist commissions and installation requirements. Either way, all the curators and directors spoke of the pervasive reality of high exhibition budgets.

The [Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s] annual exhibition budget, excluding overhead and payroll, is about $300,000. At the Hudson River Museum, costs for a single exhibition have reached \ $150,000.

The Bruce’s annual operating budget is $5.1 million a year, Mr. Sutton said, of which 60 percent is allocated for exhibitions.

All of this means that fund-raising from foundations and private donors is crucial. Mr. Sutton said he needed to raise about $3 million a year. “I’m a perennial mendicant,” he said.

Also, in a recent interview with Glasstire, the Blaffer Art Museum’s outgoing director Claudia Schmuckli said that their current budgets can range anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for a show.

For more from the NYT, please go here.

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