The National Gallery has announced that its first-ever Pay What You Wish scheme, launched as a response to the cost-of-living crisis, will continue as part of its major autumn exhibition The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Frans Hals (30th September 2023 – 21st January 2024), having attracted significant new audiences.
When public booking opens on August 16th, (nationalgallery.org.uk), people will be able to visit the exhibition for as little as £1. (Entry to view the collection is always free.)
The National Gallery became the first national art gallery in the UK to launch such a scheme for an exhibition when on Friday evenings throughout the run of The Credit Suisse Exhibition – Lucian Freud: New Perspectives visitors were able to pay as much or as little as they liked.
60% of Pay What You Wish visitors to After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art said that they chose to pay an amount based on what they could afford, with 39% also attributing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their decision.
Over the last two paying exhibitions that the scheme has been running, 23% of Pay What You Wish visitors to After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art (closed Sunday 13 August) and 22% to The Credit Suisse Exhibition ? Lucian Freud: New Perspectives (1 October 2022 ? 22 January 2023) came to a paying exhibition for the first time.
Six % of Pay What You Wish visitors to The Credit Suisse Exhibition – Lucian Freud: New Perspectives and five % of them to After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art came to the National Gallery and its collection for the first time.
About 21% of Pay What You Wish visitors to After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art were aged 35 to 44. This sample marks an 11-percentage-point increase from the overall Gallery average during the 2022/23 financial year.
In the Pay What You Wish scheme, time slots between 5.30pm and 9pm on Fridays, can be booked in advance online (nationalgallery.org.uk), on the phone or in person for a minimum payment of £1. Visitors can also attend Gallery Friday Late talks and events and enjoy later opening hours at the Gallery’s shops, bars and restaurants.
Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, London, says:
While our collection and most of our temporary exhibitions are free, the Pay What You Wish scheme continues to enable practically anyone who wants to see our paying exhibitions to do so.