Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Power Plant announces Free Admission from March 2012 to 2013

First the ROM's announcement of reduced admission fees, now this: The Power Plant has announced free admission for a full year starting March 23, 2012.

Here's the details from the gallery press release emailed this morning:

The Power Plant is pleased to announce the launch of the ALL YEAR, ALL FREE program in celebration of its 25th anniversary year. Due to the generous support of The Hal Jackman Foundation, the gallery will drop all admission fees for one full year commencing 23 March, 2012.

The launch of this new initiative is timed to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Power Plant, an occasion to encourage increased public access to the gallery, mark its achievements, celebrate its past successes, and build an exciting future....

The gallery is indebted to The Hal Jackman Foundation for making this yearlong program possible. Since 2005, the generosity of the Foundation has enabled The Power Plant to open its doors free of charge during the summer, making the gallery more accessible to thousands of lakefront visitors and tourists. The summer program has been overwhelmingly successful, enjoying an increase in attendance numbers by more than 400%, and reporting 77% of those attendees as first-time visitors.

I can't say that this is anything but a good thing--after all, I'm always happy to see private donors sponsor more free admission to art institutions--though it seems strange/unfortunate to me that we must wait for the initiative to begin in March.

I also wonder if a year of free admission is enough to really acculturate new audiences and publics to frequent visiting of the gallery--some say a few years of free is needed to make that happen at art museums.

(Also, the longer I think on matters of access, the more it seems vital to me that public Canadian collecting institutions make access to their permanent collections free, whether sponsors are available or not. It's the principle of the thing, you know?)

But getting back to the Power Plant (a non-collecting institution) I do have to say this comes as a very pleasant surprise. Kudos to the Hal Jackman Foundation for continuing to put arts access in their list of priorities.

For more information about the Power Plant's upcoming programs, visit their website.

(Image of the Power Plant's smokestack by Xavier Snelgrove via Wikimedia Commons)

No comments: