An exhibition of modern art which led to Banksy artwork popping up across East Anglia, could have brought in as much as £350,000 to the local economy.
More than 20,0000 people attended “The Moments” exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum while a further 900 school students visited as part of tours organised by West Suffolk Council’s heritage team.
“Moments”, which included original works by international artists such as Banksy, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Rachel List, Pure Evil and My Dog Sighs attracted visitors from as far and wide as Cardiff, Edinburgh, Cornwall, Cumbria, and the Isle of Wight.
International art dealer John Brandler, of Essex-based Brandler Galleries and the gallery that supplied the majority of the exhibition artwork, said, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the West Suffolk Council to create, package and market this truly unique exhibition. I am delighted the exhibition has attracted people to Bury St Edmunds from far and wide and the feedback from exhibition visitors has been delightful.
“To attract over 20,000 visitors to the exhibition is a monumental achievement, particularly when you take into account the marketing campaign for the exhibition had to begin during lockdown without knowing if and when the exhibition would go ahead. Indeed, we need to remember when the exhibition opened in May it was during social distancing, with just 30 visitors per hour permitted.”
The legacy of the exhibition doesn’t end here. West Suffolk Council is currently working with City Culture Peterborough to present the exhibition in Peterborough, with the potential for it to then tour throughout the UK in 2022 onwards.
Jo Rayner, cabinet member for Leisure and Culture at West Suffolk Council, said: “It has been fantastic for West Suffolk to be the first in the country to create and host the ‘Moments’ exhibition and the ticket sales show that it has brought in people from far and wide to see the spectacular art on display. It has put money into the local economy and caused huge excitement with Banksy artwork – and some imitations – popping up all across East Anglia.
“It has been great to welcome the brilliant Rachel List to the exhibition – her artwork captured the thoughts of a nation in its thanks to the wonderful work of the NHS doctors and nurses, helping people through the Covid pandemic. We are delighted with the success of the exhibition and wish it all the best as it begins what could become its UK tour.”Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, which works to promote year-round tourism of the local area, said ‘Moments’ had contributed to what had been a strong summer with people returning to enjoy spending time and money in the area.
Sue Warren, its brand and marketing manager, said: “Speaking to our accommodation providers, both in and around the town, there is no doubt that the ‘Moments’ exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum contributed to the bumper summer season we have had here in Bury St Edmunds.
“This was a high quality and unique exhibition outside of London which featured world renowned artists and, despite the challenges of this year, attracted people from outside the area to visit Bury St Edmunds. Events of this nature often attract repeat visitors when they see all what the town has to offer first-hand. I congratulate the team on what was a first-class exhibition.”
West Suffolk Council is now working to stage a further exhibition of international artists in 2023.