H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition


Rodin For All In ArtCity

Upon visiting the new premises together with my wife and meeting the staff team in Barrie, I was impressed by the elegant new building, the close ties to the community and the apparent enthusiasm for the vision of Barrie as "ArtCity". As part of this concept, the posthumous Rodin& casts will be placed in public locations, so that everyone can enjoy them for free. The Rodin plasters will find a home in the new Rodin Wing. Till now, no fixed admission fee has been planned:

About future admission fees to the MacLaren collection of Rodins I really have no idea.
I imagine that our policy will still stay the same - i.e. people to art. Currently admission to the MacLaren is by donation and you would be surprised how much people donate - on average more than if a typical admission price of $ 5.00 person was charged. However a reasonable admission fee structure might put into place but that is really future planning that we have not gotten into yet. Lets say I would be surprised if we did charge an admission fee but you never know what the future holds.

[From a letter from Mary Reid to the author, 3 Dec. 2001]

But even when no fixed fees will be charged and average contributions will stay under 5 Euro, it is evident the MacLaren Art Centre hopes the donated plaster collection will improve its revenues, make Barrie more attractive to tourists and support the local economy:

CAROL OFF: But tourism is what this collection is all about.

WILLIAM MOORE: For Barrie, it's also an economic reality, cultural tourism, especially Rodin. Rodin, people travel around the world to see collections of Rodin. They receive hundreds of thousands of visitors. When you look at the cultural tourism rate reality, we see a cultural tourist spend about $ 130 a day in a community. But the other side is great art. Great art housed in a great place available for all. That's, how can you beat that?

[From: The Rodin Controversy, Carol Off for CBC in interview with William Moore,
aired 16 August 2001, transcript under http://www.cbc.ca/national/news/rodin/]

The harsh critique of the R.O.M. show and the general reluctance of tourists after the terrorist attacks of September 11 meant a serious drawback for the MacLaren plans:

The 11th hurt us badly in Toronto unfortunately. No tourists almost none. So we will get 100,000 maybe and we needed 130,000 to break even. Analysis show we would have got at least 250,000 pre 11th.

[From: Letter from William Moore to the author, 28 Nov. 2001]




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