2016-10-27 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Report范文
National Portrait Gallery is among the largest and most famous collections in the world of portraits. This essay is going to assess the Gallery in terms of arts and culture. It is divided into four parts. The first section outlines the history and development of the Gallery. The following three sections focus on the key challenges that are facing the Gallery. The first key issue is that the NPG is in the challenge of identifying itself as a art gallery or a historical museum.The second key issue is that economic climate influences museum financial performance. The third part focuses on the importance of maintaining the audience sustainability for the Gallery, which is the most challenging problem that facing the Gallery. The whole essay will be concluded into a statement that the National Portrait Gallery is in the middle of evolving and improving itself in order to thrive in the modern ages. Hopefully, the readers can have a better understanding of the museum system from the example of the National Portrait Gallery and consider those key issues that facing the museums into their strategic plans for the future development of the museum.
Outline of National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is the youngest national cultural institution in Australia. At first, the gallery was only an idea proposed by Tom Roberts in the early 1900s. Until 1994, the Gallery held its first exhibition and in 1998, the Gallery was officially established. The first ten years of establishment, the Gallery focused on presenting various programs and exhibitions related to traditions. The exhibitions and collections of the Gallery in recent years have managed to presenting and demonstrating various types and genres of portraits (National Portrait Gallery official website). From the National Portrait Gallery of Australia report (2014), we know that the Gallery totaled it funds to 21,583 Australian dollars. The resourcing funds come from the agencies including the government, other industries and services. Those funds can be used in developing and maintaining high quality portraits of the Gallery. Therefore, in its 2013-2014 corporate plan, the Gallery focuses its major emphasize on three aspects:
- extending and broadening audiences: extend outreach programs and enhance the communications with audiences.
- developing collections and arts: increase primary collections acquisitions and manage collections.
- increasing the understanding of collections and engagement with audiences: highlight the exhibitions and promote the relevant education and research programs. For example, the Portrait School 2014 (NPG official website), it offers 20 learning programs and additional tailored programs for students to learn about visual arts, citizenship and history. All the learning programs are focus on acquisition of discussion, visual analysis and knowledge creation.
It is obvious that the Gallery has achieved success in the past years in terms of audience development and financial balances. Notwithstanding the economic climate of the overall Australian country is down, the performance of the Gallery still shows energetic. However, there are still some challenges facing ahead of the Gallery.
Key Issue 1: A historical museum? Or an art gallery?
It is relatively fair to say at the beginning of establishment, the NPG of Australia was founded to meet the demand that there must be a national portrait gallery in Australia. That is to say, the initiative of establishing the NPG was to find Australians a place to see arts. This statement can be supported as Paul Keating, the previous prime minister who saw the gallery as one gallery worth having (Thompson, n.d.). In addition, there are also others see the NPG functions too much as an art gallery but much less as a social and historical museum. Especially when it comes to the Gordon Darling Foundation- an art-related organization funded by Gordon Darling, critics and observers often blame the Foundation hijacked the NPG to function more as a popular art gallery. The Gordon Darling Foundation is an organization in Australia whose purpose is to fund Visual Arts activities Australia-wide (GDF official website). This explains why at first the NPG was all about sector of communities in museum which is especially affiliated with visual arts only.
Among all the critics, Humphrey McQueen is the most fiercely and independent critic on the issue of NPG’s function. He points out critically that the NPG is bad in history and conservative in arts as well (2009). Further, he commented that the NPG has ended with neither art gallery nor historical museum. The accusation is severe; however, we can see that the NPG is really in challenge of identifying its function. Fortunately, NPG also realizes this challenge. Now the NPG is adapting approaches to transform from only an art gallery to a mixture of both art gallery and historical museum. Programs and exhibitions the NPG of Australia hold is more into exciting people’s interests in the Australian history and society. Histories and stories are concerning Australia and their lives in order to educate and encourage the fellow Australians to get better understanding of the country. There is still a long way to go for the NPG to finally identify itself as a art gallery or history museum.
Key Issue 2: Economic climate influences museum financial performance
According to Lindqvist (2012), the museum financial structure can be spelled out as private and public, in addition the profit and non-profit sectors within the private part. In general, bad economic circumstance would influence the performance of museum to some extent. Because the financial structure of NPG is from their annual memberships, public donations and government funding, etc. There is no doubt that the Gallery would be hurt when the economy is going bad and all their financial structure is reducing their funds. That is to say, both the internal factors and external factors can affect the financial performance of the museum. The influence of so-called economic recession is tremendous.
The economic recessions affecting in different aspects of the museum; such as layoffs of employees, reduction on budget, less admissions for exhibitions, employee management fees increase and more expenses in operational cost. The financial challenges caused by the economic crisis can also be interpreted as that the relevant structural and political issues are vital for the museum financial management (Christensen and Laegreid, 2007). If it works, it will help reduce the vulnerability of economic fluctuations in arts and culture industry. The Gallery offers great efforts and determinations to ensue the programs going on no matter what the economic environments are. However, the Corporate plan states that there is still a tough time for the Gallery to go through the difficult period of time. For the years to come, the Gallery still needs to try to get more and more support and help for different sources and different groups to first go through the economic recession aftermath and second, to become as active and lively as what it should be.
Key Issue 3: audience sustainability maintenance
For the Gallery, the most challenging situation and the most direct problem is that the art of communications and the audiences’ sustainability. Audience feedback, is a research instrument to evaluate responses from audience. An important element of audience feedback evaluation method yet is often forgotten or underestimated, that is to communicate properly to audience and make fully usage of the feedback information. No matter how many categories the Gallery has been divided into, or how many types of art exhibitions are recognized, the audience feedback is always considered as key performance indicators to measure and alter the performance of practitioners’ attitudes, gestures, mental attitudes and opinions. Audience sustainability maintenance is very crucial in employing before an exhibition to evaluate the current status of the exhibition’s accountabilities and effectiveness. As mentioned above, audience sustainability is essential for the Gallery management and future development, in terms of establishing and maintaining relationships with main stakeholders (Jim, 2008). This statement can be also supported by Esmal-Pamies (n.d), addressing that art museums are taking great attempts to reshape their relationship with the audiences in order to keep the dynamic development for their future.
The academic discourse has made the controversial conflicts among the political nature of the museum. Under this situation, the Gallery needs to consider securing broader support in continue to seek and develop new and diverse audiences inside the Australia or all around the world. Also offerings of learning, outreaching and developing online digital resources for the new audience can become a generator for the Gallery to entice the exhibition program and foster more support. The real problem is that there is no experienced consultant or employees in the Gallery who can be responsible for the record of working and dealing with different types of audience development activity and participation. Besides, the Gallery need to responsive and proactive in advising and helping the audiences and other stakeholders to maintain the strategic missions and visions for the updates and follow-ups (Audience Development Consultant, n.d.).
This essay talked about and evaluated the Gallery in terms of arts and culture. The essay is divided into four parts. The first section outlines the history and development of the Gallery. The following three sections focus on the key challenges that are facing the Gallery. The first key issue is that economic climate influences museum financial performance. The second key issue is how difficult is for the Gallery to get a digital license. The third part focuses on the importance of maintaining the audience sustainability for the Gallery, which is the most challenging problem that facing the Gallery. The whole essay is concluded into a statement that the National Portrait Gallery is in the middle of evolving and improving itself in order to thrive in the modern ages. However, in this essay, it did not mention the solutions for the challenges that facing the Gallery. This can require for detail and further discussion in future research.