Art Institute Raises Price of Admission: “Cannibalism,” or Just “Keeping Up”?

March 13, 2009 · Print This Article

There’s been some commentary on other art and culture blogs about this, so maybe we should get into it too: The Art Institute has raised its price of admission by 50%. Now, the general public will pay $18, seniors and students pay $12, up from the $7 it was previously.

There have been a few good pieces on this issue written elsewhere over the past couple of days; in particular I liked  Tyler Green’s post over at Modern Art Notes, Museum cannibalism: pricing out visitors. Green points out that Chicago museums are more reliant on  admissions revenue than are institutions in other cities, but nevertheless decisions like this make it much harder for average folks, especially younger demographics, to make museum-going a regular thing. Salient quote:

“Museums could do lots of things to avoid pricing out visitors. Trustees could give more. Foundations could give more. Museums could cut more staff. But the last thing they should do is raise admissions charges and inhibit public access to art at a time when we need it most.”

Green then followed up with this post about the Seattle Art Museum’s “pay if you can” admissions policy, with accompanying grey-skies ad campaign. What think you?

Seattle Art Museum Ad, via Modern Art Notes blog

Seattle Art Museum Ad, via Modern Art Notes blog

EDITED TO ADD: Someone rightly pointed out that there’s more to the admissions story: free days! Here they are, straight from the Art Institute’s web site:

  • One late evening per week (Thursdays after 5:00 p.m.) throughout the year
  • Two late evenings per week (Thursdays and Fridays after 5:00 p.m.) during the summer (May 31 to August 31)
  • The entire month of February
  • The week of the opening of the Modern Wing, from May 16 to May 22, 2009

Go directly to the Art Institute’s visitor page for even more details. Plus, children under 12 will continue to get in free of charge, and there will no longer be a charge for special exhibitions or coat check.

3 Responses to “Art Institute Raises Price of Admission: “Cannibalism,” or Just “Keeping Up”?”

  1. Trustees could give more.
    Foundations could give more.
    Museums could cut more staff.

    Mr. Green’s comments seem very arm-chair-quarterback.

    #s 1 and 2 the museum has no real control over and they are already doing #3, after a while you need to start cutting programs and exhibitions if you cut too much staff. While I am not wild about the museum costing more, I don’t see where there are a ton of options open to the institution.

  2. I agree with Richard and add that any discussion that relates to Museum pricing should include mention of “Free Days”. Not a breath of which Mr. Green discussed.

  3. […] week, I was one of several bloggers who wrote about the proposed admissions hike at the Art Institute of Chicago. […]

Point of Origin

  • No results yet!