The gentrification of Te Papa

By   /   June 15, 2013  /   44 Comments

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Te Papa logo

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Te Papa – Our Place?

What does $17.50 buy at  a supermarket? Or $10.50?

For a low-income family who are struggling to pay rent ($300 – $400  p/w);  power ($30 – $50 p/w);  medicine ($5 per prescription); insurance; school fees; car rego and fuel; debts; etc,  $17.50 or $10.50 can mean the difference between food in the pantry or fridge – or running out of bread, milk, potatoes, eggs, cheese, before the next pay-day or State social security payment.

If you’re earning $1,100 a week (gross), $17.50 or $10.50, you have discretionary income for to buy tickets to a Te Papa exhibition.

If you’re on minimum wage ($13.75/hr) and earning $550 a week (gross), buying tickets to a Te Papa exhibition is the last thing on your mind.

Since 1984, the concept of User Pays has been firmly embedded in our society. It was part of neo-liberal “reforms” where, in exchange for six tax cuts since 1986, individuals were expected to pay for services that, previously, had been free (collectively paid for by everyone).

The most well-known example of this is tertiary education. Once upon a time, it was free. Post 1992, student fees were introduced, along with student loans, and a measure of  User Pays resulted. (See previous blogpost:  Greed is good?)

The rationale for the implementing a new User Pays regime was that higher education was a “private good”. However, as more and more highly trained/skilled professionals leave New Zealand, that notion of “private good” seems to be questioned more and more.

If the loss of thousands of professionals and tradespeople migrating to Australia weakens our economy, this becomes a socio-economic loss for us. For Australia, it becomes a socio-economic good. This part of the equation seems to have escaped the attent of “free” market neo-liberals.

We lose out when we assign an arbitrary monetary value to something that benefits society as a whole – as well as it’s individuals – and some or many are excluded, solely on the basis  of inability to pay.

Because in the final analysis, that is what User Pays is; if you can’t pay, you can’t use it.

This was highlighted (again) to our household recently when we considered attending an exhibition that Te Papa is currently holding,

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te papa andy warhol exhibition

Source: Te Papa – Warhol Immortal

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The description of the Exhibition was intriguing and it seemed to offer an interesting way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.

Then we saw the price of admission,

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te papa andy warhol exhibition admission prices 9.6.2013

Source: IBID

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$17.50 admission price!?

No thanks.

One of us in our household, with a strong interest in art, will still visit the exhibition. For the rest of us, for whom it would only have been a mildly entertaining/interesting event, we would rather spend that money elsewhere.

However, the thought occurred to me; how many low-income families, or individuals, would not have the same choice whether to attend or not, as we did?

How many people would see $17.50 as the difference between food for the mind or food for their bellies? For a low income family of four, the Family “Concession” of $46.50 could buy food for a several days, or make a payment on their power bill to stave off disconnection for a while longer.

I put this to Te Papa in a recent email,

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From:               Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
To:                   bridgetm@tepapa.govt.nz
Date:                9/06/2013 at 12:51 p.m.
Subject:           Exhibitions

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I am aware  that it has long been Te Papa policy to charge for various exhibitions.

For example, you current exhibition on Andy Warhol has the following charges for entry;

Adult – $17.50
Child (5–15 years) – $10.50
Child (under 5 years) – Free
Family (2 adults + up to 3 children) – $46.50 Concession – $15.50 Friend of Te Papa (adult) – $11.50 * Friend of Te Papa (child) – $6 *

10+ adults (per person) – $11.50
School group (self-guided, per person) – $8 Audio guide – $5

I would submit to you that the amounts listed above are beyond the ability of many low income families to pay, and therefore this policy excludes a sizeable sector of the community.

Whilst I understand that many of these exhibitions incur a cost, that your current charging regime means that many miss out.

I would remind you that Te Papa is a public facility which has been paid for by tax/ratepayers.

I would like to suggest that Te Papa reconsider their admission fees policy, with a view to making it more inclusive for those on low/fixed incomes.

My suggestion is that Te Papa make the last two days of an exhibition,

1. Free entry for Community Services Card holders

or,

2. Entry upon a coin donation for Community Services Card holders

and,

3. Free entry for all schoolchildren from low-decile schools.

The current system, I submit is totally unfair and maintains a two-tier class structure  where some are deemed second class citizens simply by their inability to pay an entrance fee.

This is especially unfair on children of low income families who miss out on cultural and history aspects of our nation.

Enjoying our culture and history should not be predicated on ability to pay.

– Frank Macskasy

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To their credit, Te Papa responded promptly,

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From: ridget MacDonald <BridgetM@tepapa.govt.nz>
To: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

   

Kia ora Frank

Thank you for your email comments and concerns regarding Te Papa’s exhibition pricing. I will pass your comments on to relevant staff for consideration for upcoming exhibitions.

We are very conscious of the need to make our exhibitions as accessible to a wide range of people.

You may not be aware that for every charge-for exhibition we also have the Wellington Free Day in partnership with the Wellington City Council.  This means that upon proof of local residence, for example a library card, rates invoice or utility bill with a local address, all Wellingtonians can attend the exhibition free of charge on that day.  This has been very popular for past exhibitions and we have been delighted to have a large number of families attend.

The Wellington Free Day is held on a Thursday, open late till 9pm, and advertised by us and also the Wellington City Council online and in The Dominion Post. The date for the Wellington Free Day has not yet been announced for Warhol: Immortal.

Our free events programme complements our exhibition programme and offers our visitors opportunities for insight into related subject matter through films, performances, floortalks, workshops, children’s Discovery Centre activities and much more. We have also included a selection of works from the exhibition on our new website http://www.arts.tepapa.govt.nz/on-the-wall/warhol-immortal. This site and activities such as our blogs support our programmes and offer behind the scenes information and glimpses into collections and exhibitions.

Thank you for your interest in our exhibitions at Te Papa.

Ngā mihi

Bridget

Bridget M [full surname redacted]

Senior Corporate Affairs Adviser

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa | 55 Cable Street, PO Box 467, Wellington, New Zealand
[other contact details redacted]

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I wrote back to Bridget,

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Kia Ora, Bridget,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

The Wellington Free Day is a good start. As Te Papa is New Zealand’s National museum, it would be even better if all low income families could somehow benefit from a special day or on-going discount upon presentation of a Community Services card.

This would encourage out-of-towners to participate, as well as Wellingtonians.

The Wellington Free Day is a step in the right direction.

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As I pointed out, Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum. As such, the benefits of exhibitions  should be made accessible to as many people as possible.

Whilst the “Wellington Free Day” is a good start – for which I applaud Te Papa – one has to ask; why Wellington only? Shouldn’t we have a “National Free Day”* where as many New Zealanders as possible can have the opportunity to visit their own museum?

As I pointed out in my 9 June email, the last two days of an exhibition could be easily made free-entry for all Community Card-holders (and their immediate family).

Otherwise, Te Papa’s admission policy will continue to be discriminatory,  excluding those New Zealanders for whom User Pays is a barrier to enjoying part of our culture that the rest of us take for granted. In effect, this creates a two-tiered society, with those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder missing out. (Though some might argue – with justification – that free access based on presentation of a Community Services card, also constitutes a form of discrimination. The Lesser of Two Evils Factor might apply here.)

Not only is this a dangerous thing, to discriminate and  alienate a group of people from society; but it is also morally wrong. This is another indication that our society is fracturing, splitting  along a socio-economic rift.

The fact that this is happening, and New Zealanders think this is ok, is a sad reflection of the times we live in.

This is the neo-liberal paradigm. We are living it now.

Te Papa – Not everyone’s  place?

Addendum

A link to this blogpost will be emailed to Te Papa.

This blogger wishes to thank Bridget for her timely and candid responses to my emails.

* Postscript

I don’t mean a day free of  the National-led government. Though that is a tempting thought. Post 2014 will be a National-free government.

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= fs =

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44 Comments

  1. janine says:

    Nothing new here

    I remember my one and only visit to Northland many years ago…. couldn’t afford the charge to go to the treaty house and grounds. Embarrassment all around not least for the purveyors of that “experience”.

    The poor have always been with you.

    • Joe W says:

      Last December I was able to gain free entry to the Treaty House and grounds on presentation of my Community Services card. As far as I know entry has been free for all NZ citizens since 1940.

      • Janine says:

        Well I am a New Zealand citizen but they wanted to charge me $8 to enter the Treaty house and go on to the grounds. This was in the 1990s and I do not remember any talk of community services cards.

        $8 doesn’t sound much but after travel costs and eating it was too much for us… we slept in the car on the beaches during that trip.

        The people at the Treaty house were embarrassed that people coming all the way from Te Wai Pounamu couldn’t ( or wouldn’t) pay and said we could go in for free… as others around us were paying i didn’t feel right about that..

        I guess it was a choice I could have paid the $8 and seen it and cut out some food but that was not my choice..

        If I become respectably wealthy and possess the requisite cards I will go there again… Waitangi was magical!

        • Joe W says:

          There’s nothing respectably wealthy about a Community Services card – in fact it pretty much identifies you as a second class citizen. It happened to be my handiest means of ID at the time. I’d simply assumed that it had always been the case that NZ citizens had free entry, but they certainly do now. Kudos to whoever was responsible for bringing that to pass.

  2. Peter Martin says:

    ‘Whilst the “Wellington Free Day” is a good start – for which I applaud Te Papa – one has to ask; why Wellington only? ‘

    I have a very vague memory of a stoush between the Wgton Council and Te Papa or the Govt over some contribution the Council makes to Te Papa…honestly not sure if it was a one off or some sort of on-going thing. But does Wgton subsidise Te Papa in any way?

  3. Xanadu says:

    At those prices, combined with the overpriced cafe fair, you’d think they could update the embarrassingly dated ‘Golden Days’ exhibit? I’ve always wondered what the tourists make of that film… Jonah Lomu and his first bride… the cow having its throat slit, etc… Gah, New Zealand!

  4. Procrastinator says:

    I could never appreciate the works of Andy Warhol. According to his logic every greedy cold-hearted businessperson can consider themselves artists:

    “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” – Andy Warhol.

    The “prostitutionalisation” of art and the public good?

    • fambo says:

      The documentary “Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol” is an excellent introduction to Warhol’s art for anyone who finds it hard to fathom

  5. pip pip says:

    It’s about priorities, we are living on minimum wage and I would still go to this exhibition if it was more important to me than something else. even you admit “you’d rather spend that money elsewhere”. That’s your choice… We don’t have a TV. I think the exhibition is affordable, if you are really interested in seeing it that is.

    Anyway the whole entire museum is free except for the Andy Warhol exhibition. The majority of people who go there can have a completely free of charge experience I wonder how expensive it is to bring in a large exhibition like the one about Andy Warhol?

    I sincerely don’t see what your problem is about this. The exhibition is an added extra and if you can afford it, and you want to see it, you go…

    • keith ross says:

      I really do not believe that a family on the minimal wage could afford the 46(?)$ . I have a TV too but that uses hardly any power and is free,not everyone pays for sky. Pip Pip well may be single and living with parents which may make it affordable on the min wage but no family could justify that kind of cost with that income. I am more inclined to believe Pip Pip is more a troll out to justify the right wing way than someone on the min wage.

    • I sincerely don’t see what your problem is about this. The exhibition is an added extra and if you can afford it, and you want to see it, you go…

      There’s the problem: “if you can afford it, and you want to see it, you go”.

      If you can’t afford it, you can’t go. In which case, the “choice” you referred to is illusory.

  6. Keir Leslie says:

    Realistically, the Andy Warhol show is super expensive, and if Te Papa can’t charge for it, it won’t get put on. The government will never subsidise galleries to produce this kind of massive block buster show, and I don’t particularly think it should.

    WCC subsidise Te Papa substantially. That’s why Wellingtonians get one day of free entry. It would be nice, of course, if everyone could go free, but practically speaking it’s not really possible on anything more than a symbolic level.

  7. pip pip says:

    We are a family of three, with the two adults earning the minimum wage and working full time. I am not a troll, there is no need to lash out in such a fashion, it is not productive, please don’t be so accusatory Keith, if somebody presents another point of view. I don’t feel this is a particularly pleasant forum, but I still want to have my say… if that’s ok with you.

    Frank you said you’d “rather spend that money elsewhere”. Over the other options for your expenditure, exhibition tickets are not a very high priority for you, but that is ok.

    I do not think the public purse should extend to EVERYTHING that a cultural institution does. Even a national institution should explore other opportunities, rather than keeping their activity commensurate with the level of funding from government. That is such small thinking.

    I don’t like the idea of forcing cultural organisations to stay in their box and not try new things.

    If they can find a way to pay for them, such as through charging for tickets, or other responsible business activity, it means they can bring stuff they couldn’t otherwise get here…

    And please don’t forget my point that the museum is free of charge except for this exhibition. Possibly the exhibition is indulgent of them but you are not being deprived of a museum experience and lots of free art.

    I don’t care that much about it, but your knee jerk responses got me rather wound up and allowed me to chrystallise my thoughts and realize that I support Te Papa stretching its wings like this… with an exhibition that is probably hugely expensive to put on. And through tickets, they are finding ways to pay for it, outside public funding.

    Good for them.

    • Pip Pip, I’m not sure if you have fully understood the intent of my blogpost. You may need to re-read it.

      I do not think the public purse should extend to EVERYTHING that a cultural institution does. Even a national institution should explore other opportunities, rather than keeping their activity commensurate with the level of funding from government. That is such small thinking.

      Who said anything about “the public purse should extend to EVERYTHING that a cultural institution does”?

      At this point, I’m referring solely to Te Papa which, after all, is our national museum.

      And who said anything about not allowing Te Papa to ” explore other opportunities, rather than keeping their activity commensurate with the level of funding from government”?!

      It’s unclear where you get that from.

      To repeat, again, what I am suggesting is that User Pays Exhibitions have a two day period where low/fixed income earners with Community Services cards are allowed free entry, at the end of each User Pays event. This does not take anything away from the Museum because – and let me emphasise this – low socio-economic groups already do not attend.

      “That is such small thinking”… hmmm, sorry, what were you saying to Keith about “lashing out”?

      I don’t like the idea of forcing cultural organisations to stay in their box and not try new things. –

      Neither do I, Pip Pip. Which is why I am suggresting that Te Papa try something new. This, to me, is a new thing and one with potentially positive outcomes.

      Possibly the exhibition is indulgent of them but you are not being deprived of a museum experience and lots of free art.

      So what you’re saying is that the poor should be content with what’s on offer – but the really “good stuff”, well, that’s just too bad if they can’t afford it?

      Tell me please, how that fulfills Te Papa’s role to be our national museum for ALL New Zealanders, and not segregate on ability to pay? Because that’s what we’re talking about here.

      I don’t care that much about it, but your knee jerk responses got me rather wound up and allowed me to chrystallise my thoughts and realize that I support Te Papa stretching its wings like this…

      It’s nice that Te Papa can “stretch it’s wings”, Pip Pip. I hope you don’t consider it too much of a “knee jerk reaction” when I repeat that I’d like low income families – who most certainly cannot afford $46.50 as easily as you claim to do to visit a User Pays exhibition – to be also able to “stretch their wings” and enjoy cultural events at their own museum.

      Not too much to ask, it it?

  8. It would be nice, of course, if everyone could go free, but practically speaking it’s not really possible on anything more than a symbolic level.

    Hi Leslie.

    That’s why I did not suggest “everyone could go free”.

    I referred specifically to Community Services card holders having the opportunity of two free days at the end of each Exhibition.

    • Keir Leslie says:

      (a) if you live outside Wellington free entry is at best of symbolic importance, and (b) there isn’t room in the spaces to fit such a large population in such a short amount of time, if you expect the take up to be (again) any more than symbolic.

      Many people with low/fixed incomes do in fact go see shows you have to pay for at Te Papa. (So, apart from anything else, there would be a loss of income if substantial numbers went on the suggested free days.)

      It’s also dependent on an means test, which is an inherently unpleasant way of handling things like this.

      You’re also denigrating the lived experience of someone on a low income in the way you’re talking to Pip Pip, which I think is hugely fucking patronising, and I’d strongly suggest you row back on that.

      I don’t think subsidising shows about Andy Warhol is the best use of the government’s arts money.

      • You’re also denigrating the lived experience of someone on a low income in the way you’re talking to Pip Pip, which I think is hugely fucking patronising, and I’d strongly suggest you row back on that.

        Strange… the ones doing most of the complaining about abuse are the ones dishing it out? Why is that Keir?

        Hmmm, I seem to have touched a raw nerve here… I wonder what the connecton is?

        (a) if you live outside Wellington free entry is at best of symbolic importance, and (b) there isn’t room in the spaces to fit such a large population in such a short amount of time, if you expect the take up to be (again) any more than symbolic

        So in effect, we can’t have the pristine floors of Te Papa filled with the Great Unwashed Masses? Is that what you’re telling us, Keir? Because that’s damn well how it’s looking to me; admit only the well-heeled gentry – but keep the Proles who can’t pay, firnly out.

        Seems to me, that you and Pip have more than a fair degree of elitism wafting about you both.

        It just took a while for it to come out.

        • Keir Leslie says:

          So in effect, we can’t have the pristine floors of Te Papa filled with the Great Unwashed Masses

          No, Frank, it’s simple matter of mathematics, practical exhibition design (and, eventually, fire engineering). The Visa Platinum Gallery apparently has a capacity for 700 people as a cocktail venue. If we assume that that’s probably double what you would comfortably expect in an exhibition space, once you allow for the need to see the work etc, we’ll call it 350. It’s also worth assuming that each viewer will take about an hour to see the show, giving us 350 viewers per hour. Te Papa’s open 8 hours a day (and 11 on Thursdays) so let’s call it 6650 visitors (and that’s a ceiling.)

          Now, Immortal’s already operating on a viewing time schedule, so I suspect we can assume it’s close to capacity at peak times (i.e school holidays, weekends, after work on Thursdays). That means that either the proposed free entry has to be either off peak (during the workday, basically) at which point it’s pretty useless to the working poor, and that 7k-ish starts to look optimistic, or else it’s peak, which will mean losing a reasonable amount of money by reducing the number of paying visitors that attend.

          Pick one, and you’re either making a symbolic gesture, or costing the gallery money.

          Ironically, Frank, it would appear that the two people here who are in fact on low incomes here are also the ones who’re willing to point out that your plan isn’t that great. Maybe instead of proposing ineffectual, patronising, & tokenistic solutions, you should listen and think a bit?

          • The Visa Platinum Gallery apparently has a capacity for 700 people as a cocktail venue. If we assume that that’s probably double what you would comfortably expect in an exhibition space, once you allow for the need to see the work etc, we’ll call it 350. It’s also worth assuming that each viewer will take about an hour to see the show, giving us 350 viewers per hour. Te Papa’s open 8 hours a day (and 11 on Thursdays) so let’s call it 6650 visitors (and that’s a ceiling.)

            Interesting information, Keir. So I take it you work for Te Papa? If so, a disclosure might have been warranted.

            Everything you’ve written indicates that you and your friend are elitists who, by the perpetuation of User Pays, continue to make a tax-payer funded amenity such as Te Papa restricted to keeping out those on low incomes.

            That comes through patently clear in your postings.

            As for your claim that “two people here who are in fact on low incomes here are also the ones who’re willing to point out that your plan isn’t that great” – rubbish. There is no evidence to support that at all, except for unsupported assertions. For all we know, you and Pip are the same person.

            In fact, all you’ve done is advocated the status-quo; User Pays to keep out the “riff-raff”.

            Why else refer to numbers as justification to exclude people based on inability to pay? If only to keeping out the “riff raff” – ie; you are rationing a public amenity dictated by price.

            That is what you’re advocating, isn’t it?

            Your continuing defence of this indefensible practice indicates to me that you’re either ideologically wedded to User Pays, or, are connected to Te Papa and supporting it’s policies.

            Sorry, but the only “ineffectual, patronising, & tokenistic” comments I’m reading are from you and Pip. I might point out that “neither” of you have offered any counter solutions. Your constant belittling of views you disagree with are not solutions.

            I challenge you to come up with meaningful alternatives that make it easier for low income families to participate in a public facility.

            Real low income families. Not the faux variety who can claim whatever they like under the cloak of internet anonymity.

            Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, you’re part of the problem – not the solution.

            So no more BS. Give us real solutions or be on your way.

            • Keir Leslie says:

              Frank, that’s hugely offensive, and I’d thank you to withdraw and apologize. It’s perfectly clear who I am. I post under my own name, and you can look me up.

              Beyond that, clearly any attempt to bring reasoned, informed debate to the table is anathema here, which, really, is quite depressing.

              • ALH84001 says:

                You know Keir, having read the comments here, I think it’s you and Pippip who’ve been the ones trolling with your snide little remarks like “Maybe instead of proposing ineffectual, patronising, & tokenistic solutions, you should listen and think a bit?”

                You seem to have some kind of vested interest in this issue, that’s fairly clear.

                Frank made a valid point thaqt the costs of entry are too high for low income families. You haven’t addressed that and have skirted the issue.

                One thing that does come through though is your elitist attitude and unwillingness to look at the issues in a matter of fact way.

                Saying that low income families would fill up your precious galleries is elitist snobbery.

                If anyone needs to apologise, it’s not Frank He’s been more tolerant than I would’ve been.

                So please take your holier than thou attitude and —

  9. keith ross says:

    I am sorry to have offended you Pip Pip but there are many trolls out there trying to sway public opinion and it is not always easy to pick them.I am of the view that we all have contributed to this museum through our taxes and that to allow the holders of a community services card and their families access on the last two days of any exhibition would not adversely impact on the financial status of the museum and may well in fact contribute to it with the positive feedback that could be produced.I am sure that the parents of the 240000 children that live in poverty in New Zealand would have a hard time affording this and ,even though many would probably not attend, those that did would have a very positive experience. One of the things that large exhibitions do is raise peoples awareness of the museum in the first place, and society as a whole can benefit from exposing its people to the museum, not just the well off and those good at budgeting.

  10. pip pip says:

    Yes but in that case Keith you are proposing that they have to buy advertising all over the country if you want to reach all the families of those children in poverty with this initiative. If that is genuinely your goal then it sounds like a very expensive advertising exercise for the museum. Just in order to give away an exhibition they (probably) paid extra for on top of all the free stuff offered. What you are proposing is not as simple as you seem to dream that it is.
    I am not trying to sway public opinion, in fact like I said I don’t care enormously about this issue except I have spent days inside that museum looking at art without paying a cent for it.
    I am not deprived of access to free art and neither are you.

    • Yes but in that case Keith you are proposing that they have to buy advertising all over the country if you want to reach all the families of those children in poverty with this initiative.

      I don’t believe that is what he said. You are putting words in his mouth.

      I am not trying to sway public opinion, in fact like I said I don’t care enormously about this issue except I have spent days inside that museum looking at art without paying a cent for it.
      I am not deprived of access to free art and neither are you.

      So, in effect, you are enjoying artwork, freee of charge, that others have paid for?

      You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

      • pip pip says:

        How are the Community Service Cardholders going to hear about it then Frank?

        • 1. Internet.

          2. Incorporate into EXISTING advertising.

          3. Publicise via existing covering letter when new Community Services cards are mailed out.

          Probably advertise the same way that promotes the free artwork displays that you attend…

          For starters.

          • Gosman says:

            It is still an additional cost. Nothing that involves additional effort (which this does) is truly free.

    • ALH84001 says:

      For someone who doesn’t care much on this issue, you and Keir have spent quite a bitb of time dissing Frank’s post. Then you have the cheek to complain that he’s offended you? Oh puhleese!

  11. Gosman says:

    Te Papa has a fixed budget per year. Out of this it funds operation costs and putting on exhibitions like thus. If you reduce their income then they want be able to fund as much. So where will the shortfall be made up?

    • Te Papa has a fixed budget per year. Out of this it funds operation costs and putting on exhibitions like thus. If you reduce their income then they want be able to fund as much. So where will the shortfall be made up?

      Ah, excellent question.

      The answer is; it wouldn’t.

      People on low/fixed incomes are already not attending User-Pays exhibitions.

      Therefore, there is no loos of income.

      Having Two Free days for community services card holders – who most likely already do not attend – therefore has no effect on income. It is “fiscally neutral”, to use Dear Leader’s term.

      In fact, Community Services card holders could even make small donations – thereby fractionally increasing Te Papa’s income. It mightn’t be much – but a few extra dollars is better than nothing.

    • ALH84001 says:

      Why is there going to be a shortfall Gosman? Frank pointed out THREE WAYS to promote these exhibitions at minimal cost.

      What’ve you suggested? Nothing.

  12. Peter Martin says:

    ‘‘Whilst the “Wellington Free Day” is a good start – for which I applaud Te Papa – one has to ask; why Wellington only? ‘

    Seems the good folk of Wgton contribute a couple of million dollars a year to Te Papa…so they have in fact prepaid. *s*

  13. Gosman says:

    That is making a rather big assumption. I know many people who might qualify for a community services card for any number of reasons who would possibly still pay to see an exhibit.

    There is also the fact that encouraging more people to see it for free may well put off people who might pay on these days as the numbers and therefore waiting times to view things will be longer.

    Te Papa is likely to lose some revenue from your suggestion. This will need to be made up somehow.

    • ALH84001 says:

      “I know many people who might qualify for a community services card for any number of reasons who would possibly still pay to see an exhibit. ”

      Gosman, that cracked me up.

      Youi’d know as many people with a Community Services card as I’d know millionaires.

      Hoot!

  14. fambo says:

    $17.50 is quite a lot of money but only a few dollars more than going to see a movie, and probably a lot cheaper than going to see a major sporting fixture, rock concert or visiting classical musician. There’s no law of nature that says a visual arts exhibition should be free where all other arts and entertainment aren’t. Definitely, the entry ticket will put off people who don’t have a strong desire to see the exhibition but the truth is, the visual arts is an acquired taste and taking along others who don’t get the works in the question is a waste of money anyway. Just because people have eyes to look at a work of art, doesn’t mean they automatically have a way of comprehending it.

    However, I’m definitely not a supporter of user pays as a philosophy.

    • ALH84001 says:

      “There’s no law of nature that says a visual arts exhibition should be free where all other arts and entertainment aren’t ”

      That may be true Fambo. But this is our national museum we’re talking about, not a visiting rock band.

      • Keir Leslie says:

        Actually, Andy Warhol basically is a visiting rock band. Would you expect free tickets to a Velvet Underground gig if they played Te Papa?

  15. […] as a blogpost in The Daily Blog suggests – The gentrification of Te Papa – we may well be on the road to a two-tier society anyway. And the frightening thing is that […]

  16. TheBigMeerkat says:

    It was a terrible exhibition anyway. Warhol sucks.

  17. Heather G says:

    Another option would be to have a very low entry fee for those with a community services card. That would fix the crowding issue (if that was a concern).
    The Dominion Post had articles about the % of children from Naenae and Porirua who have never even been to Wellington ( for a number of reasons including cost but also Porirua feels like another country within NZ) let alone a Te Papa exhibition that costs money.
    The New Dowse and Pataka are at least free. I highly recommend Pataka. The exhibitions change more frequently than Te Papa and they are really stimulating.

    • Good idea, Heather. And yes, I had those children in mind who’ve never been to a museum or art gallery, and where some exhibitions would draw them in.

      The “Lord of the Rings” exhibition (which was also user pays if memory serves) was a prime example.

      If we can get more young people through the doors, attracted by certain exhibitions, there’s the chance that they’ll keep coming back, time and again. To me, that’s one of the rationales for a museum…


 
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