Ontario Association of Art Galleries Data Exchange

Key findings

The goal of the research outlined in this presentation was to provide “reliable, detailed data on public art galleries across Ontario”, thereby influencing art gallery sector analysis as well as organizations’ benchmarking and future planning.

A detailed online survey was completed by 47 Ontario art galleries, representing 64% of the member galleries of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG). A qualitative section of the survey gathered information on key successes and challenges identified by gallery directors. The most commonly identified success was community engagement (selected by 30 directors), followed by exhibitions (23) and financial health or revenue generation (also 23). Two challenges were most commonly identified: “facilities, physical plant” (29 directors) and financial health or revenue generation (28).

Some of the statistical highlights from 2013 include:

  • The presentation of 667 exhibitions involving over 3,400 artists.
  • Total attendance of 2.8 million people.
  • Over 850,000 participants in the galleries’ arts education programs.
  • 1,456 staff members, compared with 4,789 volunteers.
  • Total operating revenues of $172 million and operating expenses of $162 million.
  • A net surplus of $3 million (after adjustments for amortization and other items).

In 2013, the largest share of Ontario galleries’ revenues came from government funding (56% of total revenues), followed by earned revenues (27%), private sector fundraising (13%), and other revenue sources (4%). The largest component of operating expenditures were artistic expenses (41% of the total allocated toward, for example, artist fees, salaries for artistic, production, and technical staff, exhibition costs, and expenses related to catalogues and publications), followed by administrative expenditures (25%), facility operating costs (23%), marketing and communications expenses (7%), and fundraising costs (5%).

Based on data from 23 galleries that reported in both 1993 and 2013, the presentation outlines important changes over time in Ontario art galleries. Between 1993 and 2013, total attendance increased by 69% despite a 19% reduction in the number of exhibitions at the galleries. Permanent collections nearly doubled in size between 1993 and 2013. The number of full-time staff members increased by 4%, but the number of part-time staff members decreased by 30%.

The presentation indicates that “art galleries have significantly diversified their revenue sources since 1993”. As a percentage of total revenues, public sector funding decreased from 84% in 1993 to 58% in 2013 (for the 23 galleries reporting in both years). Private sector and earned revenues both increased in importance. Private sector fundraising increased from 4% of total revenues in 1993 to 11% in 2013, while earned revenues increased from 12% in 1993 to 28% in 2013. The 1993 survey did not ask galleries to identify other revenue sources. These sources represented 3% of total revenues in 2013.

Adjusted for inflation, these financial changes mean that:

  • For every $1 in total revenues in 1993, the galleries had $1.77 in total revenues in 2013.
  • For every $1 in government revenues in 1993, the galleries received $1.22 in 2013.
  • For every $1 in earned revenues in 1993, the galleries generated $4.16 in 2013.
  • For every $1 in private sector fundraising 1993, the galleries raised $5.15 in 2013.

The full Statistical Profile of Art Galleries in Ontario is available for $30 from OAAG.

Summary: 

The goal of the research outlined in this presentation was to provide “reliable, detailed data on public art galleries across Ontario”, thereby influencing art gallery sector analysis as well as organizations’ benchmarking and future planning.