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Metropolitan Museum’s McQueen, Caro, Serra, and “Rooms with a View” Exhibitions Stimulate $908 Million Economic Impact for New York

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(New York, September 12, 2011)—The Metropolitan Museum’s concurrent presentation of four acclaimed and widely attended exhibitions in the summer 2011 season—Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Anthony Caro on the Roof; Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective; and Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century—generated $908 million in spending by regional, national, and international tourists to New York, according to a visitor survey the Museum released today. Using the industry standard for calculating tax revenue impact, the study found that the direct tax benefit to the City and State from out-of-town visitors to the Museum totaled some $90.8 million. (Results of visitor survey are below.)

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, on view from May 4 through August 7, 2011, drew 661,509 visitors. Attendance for Anthony Caro on the Roof was 306,542 from April 26 through August 26, 2011, when this survey was completed (the exhibition will close on October 30, 2011). Attendance for Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, which opened April 13, was 183,553 through August 26. Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century, on view from April 25 through July 4, 2011, drew 194,398 visitors.

The survey found that 68% of the visitors traveled from outside the five boroughs of New York. Of these, 20% were from the Tri-State area, 38% were from other states, and 42% were international visitors. Eighty-two percent of travelers reported staying overnight in the City; of these, 72% stayed in a hotel or motel. The median length of stay in the City was 5 days.

These visitors reported spending an average $927 per person ($599 for lodging, dining, sightseeing, entertainment, admission to museums, and local transportation and another $328 for shopping) during their stay in New York.

Fifty-two percent of travelers cited visiting the Met as a key motivating factor in visiting New York. Of travelers, 45% made their first visit to the Museum, and another 23% made their first visit in several years.

The Museum maintains a policy of welcoming visitors to special exhibitions without imposing extra fees. All exhibitions are free with the Museum’s suggested admission.           

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, stated: “As the results of this audience survey suggest, special exhibitions have the power to draw new visitors to the Museum. And after they have attended an exhibition at the Met once, we are confident they will come again. Through our commitment to a robust program of new offerings in the coming years, we hope to continue to attract new audiences to the Museum and thereby to the City and the State.”

Emily K. Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum—who also serves as chair of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism agency—noted: “Through its roster of highly engaging exhibitions on an ever-changing selection of topics, the Met continues to appeal to a broad cross-section of the population. We are pleased to announce that the Museum remains a premier destination for visitors to New York, and that the revenues it generates for the City and the State show substantial and continued growth.”

The survey of visitors to Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Anthony Caro on the Roof, Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, and Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century is the most recent of a series of audience studies undertaken by the Metropolitan to calculate the public economic impact of its special exhibition program.  In 2010, the Museum found that the concurrent presentation of Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Doug + Mike Starn on the Roof: Big Bambú, and American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity had generated $784 million in economic impact; in 2007, the concurrent showing of Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde and Americans in Paris, 1860-1900 had generated $377 million in economic impact; in 2004, its El Greco retrospective had generated $345 million in economic impact, and in 2000 reported that visitors to Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids had generated some $307 million.

Using a scale of 1 to 10 to determine how important seeing one or more of the four exhibitions was in their decision to visit New York City, 28% of visitors surveyed in the study gave a rating of 8 or higher. Fifty-two percent gave a rating of 8 or higher to visiting the Metropolitan Museum in general. The economic impact is estimated to be $254 million for just those individuals who indicated that seeing the exhibitions was important in their decision to visit New York City and $472 million for those who wanted to see the Museum in general, yielding tax benefits of $25.4 and $47.2 million respectively.

The landmark exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty featured some 100 ensembles and 70 accessories that spanned the late British designer’s prolific 19-year career. His iconic designs were always at the vanguard of fashion, due to his unique combination of technical ingenuity with an innovative sensibility. The exhibition was the eighth most popular exhibition ever held at the Metropolitan, and the most visited of the special exhibitions organized by The Costume Institute. In response to public interest, the Museum extended the exhibition by one week and added extra viewing times—including late hours through midnight on the last weekend—so the public could see the exhibition when the Museum was normally closed.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was made possible by Alexander McQueen™.

Additional support was provided in partnership with American Express and Condé Nast.

Installed on the Museum’s dramatic Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, with unparalleled panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, Anthony Caro on the Roof includes a selection of the sculptor’s works in painted and unpainted industrial steel. Caro is considered the most influential and prolific British sculptor of his generation, and is widely regarded as a key figure in the development of modernist sculpture in the last 60 years. The installation is the 14th consecutive single-artist installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. 

The exhibition was made possible by Bloomberg.

Additional support was provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective traced the artist’s investigation of drawing as an activity both independent from and linked to his sculptural practice. The exhibition included 60 works from the 1970s to the present. Over the past quarter of a century, Serra has invented new drawing techniques and radically changed the practice and definition of drawing.

The exhibition was made possible in part by the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund.

It was organized by the Menil Collection, Houston.

Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century was the first exhibition to focus on the motif of the open window as captured by German, Danish, French, and Russian artists around 1810-1820.  A poetic play of light and perceptible silence filled the 31 oil paintings and 26 works on paper included in the presentation.

The exhibition was made possible by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and The Isaacson-Draper Foundation.

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September 12, 2011

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Results of Visitor Survey
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Anthony Caro on the Roof; Richard Serra Drawing; and Rooms with a View
June and July, 2011

A survey of visitors to four summer special exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art demonstrates that visitor spending by individuals from out of town generated $908 million of economic activity and provided an estimated direct tax benefit to New York City and State of $90.8 million.   

993 visitors were surveyed over two weeks in June and July, 2011, when four special exhibitions— Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Anthony Caro on the Roof; Richard Serra Drawing; and Rooms with a View—were on view.  

Key findings
* 661,509 people saw Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; 306,542 had visited Anthony Caro on the Roof (by August 26); 183,553 saw Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, and 194,398 attended Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century.

* The vast majority of The Met’s visitors are from out of town.  Sixty-eight percent of visitors surveyed were from outside the five boroughs of New York City. 

* Of the out-of-town visitors, 20% were from the Tri-State area, 38% from other states, and 42% were international.  International visitors on average spend more and stay longer than domestic visitors.
 
* More than four out of five (82%) of the out-of-town visitors stayed overnight in the City, and the median length of stay was 5 days.  Almost three-quarters (72% of 82%) of these stayed in a hotel. 

* Out-of-town visitors reported spending on average $599 on expenses and another $328 on shopping during their visit to New York, yielding an estimated $908 million in spending by visitors to the exhibitions.  Using an estimate of a 10% tax rate on spending (combining sales and hotel taxes), the tax benefit for New York City and State would be roughly $90.8 million. 

* During their stay in NYC, visitors participated in many other cultural activities:  74% visited museums, 51% saw a Broadway show, and 21% attended an opera, ballet, or concert. 

* 52% of the out-of-town visitors reported that their visit to The Met was a determining factor in their decision to visit New York.  Out-of-town visitors were asked how important seeing the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Anthony Caro on the Roof, Richard Serra Drawing, and Rooms with a View exhibitions, and visiting the Met in general, were to their decision to visit New York City.  Using a 1 (not at all important) to 10 (very important) scale, 28% of visitors gave a rating of 8 or above with regard to the exhibitions, and 52% gave a rating of 8 or above to visiting The Met in general. 

* Using just those individuals who said the exhibitions or the Museum were highly important in their visiting decision, the visitor spending estimate would be $254 million (for the exhibitions) or $472 million (for the Museum in general).  These figures would yield tax benefit estimates of $25.4 million and $47.2 million respectively.

* Of travelers, 45% made their first visit to the Museum, and an additional 23% made their first visit in several years.

* The median age for visitors surveyed was 44. As is typical for the Met, visitors are highly educated, with more than half (46%) holding a master’s degree or higher.  Met visitors also have high incomes; the median reported income was $90,500 and 44% had income over $100,000. 

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