Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Centre of attention

You know it’s happening but it's still a shock to see half of the Govett-Brewster demolshed along with the buildings that used to stand beside it. The ground area left behind is huge and leaves the old G-B building looking rather forlorn. Over the next two years (the Centre is slated to open in 2015) this chunk of land will become the new Len Lye Centre. It will be New Zealand’s first single-artist institution and will sit alongside the G-B sharing some exhibition space. It’s a big gamble for New Plymouth and to match it the New Plymouth City Council will pay the new director up to $122,279 a year.

The investment in the Len Lye Centre is based on the assumption that the new museum will attract both the people of New Plymouth and (very importantly) people from outside the region.  At this stage the Govett-Brewster is projecting an annual target audience for its proposed Centre of 56,000. New Plymouth is a city of 69,000 so interesting to see how this estimate compares with the experience of other single artist institutions.

The Andy Warhol Museum - 115,000 visitors a year in Pittsburgh, population 307,000

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum - 170,000 visitors a year in Santa Fe, population 68,642.

The Norman Rockwell Museum - 125,000 visitors a year in Stockbridge, population 26,000

Noguchi Museum - 25,000 visitors a year in Long Island City, population 126,000

Other OTN stories on the Len Lye Centre
The building
The audience