MORE than 6000 people will have enjoyed the 2019 Archibald Prize touring exhibition at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery by the time it draws to a close on Sunday afternoon.
Visitor numbers have averaged around 115 a day since the exhibition opened in August and BRAG staff are gearing up for an even greater last-minute rush over the final two days.
By Friday morning, more than 5900 visitors had enjoyed the Archibald Prize, Pictures Of You and Bathurst Young Archies exhibitions, with BRAG's figures showing 68 per cent were from the Bathurst region, 11.5 per cent from Sydney and 19.5 per cent from other areas of regional NSW.
The three exhibitions have boosted visitors to BRAG by 79 per cent compared to the same time last year.
ALSO MAKING NEWS:
Gallery director Sarah Gurich was thrilled with the numbers given the ongoing uncertainty around COVID.
"In terms of visitors compared to the last time we hosted this exhibition in 2013 our numbers are down but we're seeing about 115 people a day which is still pretty fantastic," she said.
"In 2013 we averaged around 200 a day but this time round we haven't been able to host the school groups or tours we would normally have and some people are still a bit hesitant about getting out and about, so I'm very happy with those numbers."
Ms Gurich said the Archibald Prize was a chance to showcase Bathurst's gallery with the combination of famous faces and artists always drawing a crowd.
She said art lovers who had previously viewed the exhibition in Sydney had enjoyed seeing it in a different context in Bathurst.
"The Archibald Prize is a perennial favourite because it's such a fantastic exhibition of faces that people know and artists that people recognise," Ms Gurich said.
"It's really important for people in regional areas to have access to the best visual art exhibitions, it's just vital.
"And because the exhibition coincided with this year's Archibald Prize it added a different element. Vincent Namatjira won the 2020 Archibald (with a portrait of footballer Adam Goodes and the artist) so people coming to our exhibition were able to see his 2019 entry and really get a feel for the artist."
Ms Gurich said the 51 entries in the Pictures Of You photographic exhibition and 150 entries from artists aged 18 and under in the Bathurst Young Archies exhibition had also been warmly received.
What do you think?
- Why not write us a letter to the editor ...