“Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee Picasso, Paris” proved to be a blockbuster for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The Richmond museum reported Thursday that a quarter million people visited the show during its only East Coast stop from February 19 through May 15. The museum also released the findings of a study that analyzed the financial impact of having a must-see show in the state. The Picasso exhibition, according to Chmura Economics & Analytics study, brought $26.6 million to the Richmond region and a total of nearly $30 million to the state. In addition to the record-breaking attendance, the show generated $2.4 million in ticket revenues, another high mark, according to the museum.
Alex Nyerges, the VMFA director, underscored the value of the arts, which is a point directors and supporters of the arts have been making as public money for programs and institutions shrinks. “The ripple effect impacted hotels, restaurants and the overall tourism industry, subsequently benefitting the region. The arts are an important catalyst for tourism and we will continue to initiate ‘can’t miss’ exhibitions and programs at the museum,” Nyerges said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a record crowd went to a show of famed jewelry at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” attracted 172,000 visitors to the New York City museum. That was a record for the design facility, which is part of the Smithsonian.
The show closed July 4, the day the museum closed for a two-year renovation. During the $64 million project, the museum will present shows at other locations, including one at the United Nations, starting October 15. The museum plans to reopen in 2013.