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Remai Modern visitation increases by more than 70 percent following change to by-donation admission

For immediate release — April 20, 2023

SASKATOON, CANADA — Six months after changing to a by-donation admission model, Remai Modern is reporting a noticeable increase in visitation.

Attendance has grown by 72.7 per cent compared to the same period during the previous year. The museum launched by-donation admission on October 22, 2022.

“Over the past six months, it’s been a joy to watch the museum come alive with visitors of all ages, some of whom are exploring Remai Modern for the first time,” said Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, Remai Modern’s Co-Executive Director & CEOs. “We are so grateful to the community for embracing this change. We’re seeing more and more people discovering the diverse programs and exhibitions the museum has to offer, from artmaking to films and so much more.”

The numbers over the past six months indicate the museum has also exceeded its pre-pandemic numbers by 13 per cent when compared to the same period from October 22, 2019 to March 21, 2020.

Visitation captures the many different ways people interact with Remai Modern, as gallery visitors, restaurant patrons, attendees at private events and more.

Remai Modern is the most-visited art museum in the country per capita, according to statistics shared in annual reports from comparable institutions in 2019-2020.

The museum had 117,941 visitors in 2022. This figure reflects new methodology Remai Modern is using to better reflect visitation patterns at the museum. The historical way of counting — both at Remai Modern and the Mendel Art Gallery — counted visits, which could include a single person visiting multiple spaces. This is a common practice for museums. Remai Modern’s new method counts visitors as opposed to visits, meaning each person is only counted once each time they enter the building.

Using this new methodology, Remai Modern still has the best per capita art museum visitation in Canada.

Remai Modern’s leadership team changed the admission structure as a direct result of public feedback, which was gathered from hundreds of individuals and organizations during the creation of a new strategic plan. Moving to by-donation admission was an important step to meaningfully respond to that feedback and welcome even more people into the space.

Thanks to a $10-million pledge from the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, Remai Modern will continue to offer admission by donation for the next 20 years. While the foundation’s commitment is of vital importance in helping ensure the financial sustainability of this change, visitor donations continue to be crucial to support art programs for all.

“We are heartened, though not surprised, that our visitors continue to be generous when they come to Remai Modern. By contributing what you can, we are able to ensure all visitors have access to the museum and our programs. We welcome visits from those who may not want or be able to donate, alongside those who generously support Remai Modern with an amount of their choosing. The goal is to make sure everyone feels welcome at Remai Modern,” said Burns and Lundh.

By-donation admission enables every visitor to pay what they wish. Any amount is welcome and every dollar is matched thanks to an additional commitment from the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation. Donations support art programs for everyone in the community, including those who can’t visit the museum in person, ensuring all have access to the positive impacts of art.

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon. The museum presents and collects local and international modern and contemporary art that connects, inspires and challenges diverse audiences through equitable and accessible programs.

Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints.

Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund, SK Arts and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager