The Remai Modern opened its doors to the public for the first time on Oct. 21, 2017, after one year in operation the numbers prove it’s a hit.
The gallery hoped to attract 190,000 visitors to the palatial River Landing location in its first year. Instead, 453,176 people walked through the doors.
“Seeing the place dynamically, sort of humming, is just so rewarding,” Executive Director and CEO Gregory Burke told 650 CKOM.
He’s not worried that those numbers will drop as the gallery’s newness fades.
“We’re optimists,” Burke said. “We’d like to feel that we’re offering such an exciting program and the welcoming nature of the building and its location will keep drawing people.”
Over the last year, the Remai Modern has featured exhibits and works by renowned artists and the building itself received accolades including being named one of Design magazines best building of 2017.
Saskatoon City Council unanimously approved $5.5-million toward the art gallery on the first day of the 2017 budget deliberations.
At the time, councillors voiced some concern about the Remai Modern’s budget and expectations for revenue from renting space.
Admission and membership numbers from the first year of operation show there was no need to worry.
In the gallery’s business plan it estimated admission revenue would be $410,000. It came in at $484,579.
Membership totals were significantly higher than the $108,500 goal at $364,133.
“A lot of the money is coming through our own efforts,” Burke said. “And everyone has a huge gratitude to donors like Mrs. Remai (the galleries primary donor).”
To celebrate a year of hard work the gallery organized a party on Friday that is open to the public, but tickets are limited.