How can an exhibition increase sales

Berlin art scene : Museums and galleries increase sales and create jobs

Larry Clark's pictures show “youthful beauty, sexuality and drug-induced hustle and bustle,” write the makers of C / O Berlin. The American photographer deliberately plays with taboos, for example taking pictures of a pregnant woman who is injecting drugs. With Clark's provocative pictures, the photo gallery C / O Berlin in Mitte attracts an average of 480 visitors a day - 300 would be enough to cover the costs of the exhibition.

Museums, galleries and exhibition spaces such as C / O Berlin strengthen the capital's economic power. This is shown by a study published on Monday by the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB). Accordingly, the number of exhibition visitors in Berlin increased by six million between 2002 and 2010 - an increase of 73 percent. Nationwide, the number of those who visited an exhibition only increased by eight percent in the same period. The increase in visitors means that the turnover of the museums and galleries in the city is increasing: in 2010 they had a turnover of 263.2 million euros, 25 percent more than a year earlier. The commercial art galleries contribute the largest part: they made 193.3 million euros in sales in 2010 with the sale of works of art. Even if there are no official figures for the past year, the IBB assumes that the Berlin galleries were able to increase their revenues further to more than 200 million euros in 2011.

Even if the galleries and museums are only responsible for a fraction of Berlin's economic power - in total, goods and services worth more than 90 billion euros are generated in Berlin every year - they are still of great importance for the city. "The museums attract many tourists to Berlin who spend more money here than the pure admission prices," says IBB economist Claus Pretzell. The result is a multiplier effect: those who visit the Larry Clark exhibition, for example, often have a coffee afterwards in one of the cafés on Oranienburger Strasse, eat nearby or browse the shops on Hackescher Markt. The statistics show: Those who only stay in the city for one day spend an average of 36 euros - tourists who also stay here spend 196 euros.

The IBB has calculated that the 180,000 people who visit the C / O Berlin photo exhibitions each year create additional purchasing power of 6.43 million euros. As a result, C / O Berlin alone could create 69 new jobs in the vicinity over the next five years and the gross domestic product could be increased by a further 10.45 million euros annually. "This shows that even small cultural projects can have an impact," says Pretzell.

Another effect: the number of museums and galleries increases the attractiveness of the city - not only for tourists. “Cultural facilities increase the recreational value,” the bankers conclude from their analysis. Museums and galleries therefore also played an important role when choosing where to live - especially for the so-called “high potentials”, people who earn well and are particularly mobile. “That is an image effect that is difficult to express in numbers,” says Pretzell.

There are currently 113 museums and 440 galleries in Berlin, in which over 6,000 artists from all over the world show their works. In addition, Berlin's museums are particularly popular. Each of them attracts an average of 110,000 visitors a year. That is significantly more than the museums in other cities. Hamburg, for example, only has 46,000 visitors per museum. The IBB explains that the art scene in Berlin is developing so positively with the favorable location conditions. “A lot is done for art here, even in times of crisis.” The city is particularly attractive for artists because there are many exhibition and sales opportunities here and they can live cheaply here. C / O-Berlin managing director Stefan Erfurt was pleased with the numbers on Monday and now hopes that there will be “finally a location security” for the photo gallery. Carla Neuhaus

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