Audience development in action – Galleries Night in Birmingham
Birmingham galleries including Ikon, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the RBSA and mac birmingham – have joined together to offer visitors late-night opening, free tours, complimentary drinks and the all important Art Bus. The bus provides free transport between each venue, so that attenders need not worry about parking, traffic jams or sat navs. Galleries Night has developed over time, with new venues coming on board and new marketing partnerships put in place (including being part of the Culture24 initiative Museums at Night), but the essential premise remains the same: visit several galleries in one evening, don’t worry about transport, enjoy guided tours (and a glass of wine) and, best of all, do it all for free.
The numbers attending Galleries Night are not necessarily huge, but the engagement quotient is high. Our research indicates that Art Bus is well received by audiences, with a steady stream of regulars as well as new faces. Audience feedback from 2009 sums up the general feeling: ‘I like the bus as an opportunity to talk to other people fascinated
by art and adventure.’ ‘I think this is a good idea. Somehow we would not have got around to visiting all three galleries but because this event was on, it seemed a fun way to go round them.'