“We don’t get any subsidy. We are a municipal foundation, but usually we are self-financing because we have a little over 1 million visitors a year. 90% of our receipts come from admissions, and 10% from the bookstore. Fortunately, I had some cash in advance, but there we were forced to ask for help from the town, which owns the premises and the collection. In summer, I have 60% of foreigners: they have disappeared, even if we have partly recovered the local public. We normally had 4,000 visitors per day. When I reopened, I expected 800 to 900 daily visitors, and I only had 300 on average. Our loss forecasts amount to 7 million euros.
“I have to be parsimonious, and do things that make sense and convey emotion”
We have about 200 employees altogether. The staff of the Picasso Museum itself is 38 people. Cleaning services, surveillance or public reception, which account for the rest, are delegated to private companies. During confinement, salaries were 100% guaranteed. Since the reopening, activity has been reduced by 40%, with a weekly closure on Mondays to reduce costs.
The program has been completely revised, we are refocusing on our collections. Large exhibitions are expensive. I have to be parsimonious, and do things that make sense and convey emotion. The “Picasso / Eluard” exhibition, relatively inexpensive, certainly erudite, but which told above all a story of loyalty and friendship, received 250,000 visitors and attracted new audiences.
“You have to be inventive”
The small exhibition on the rediscovery that we have made of a work presumed to have disappeared by Oscar Dominguez, the mythical sculpture Never, presented at the International Exhibition of Surrealism in 1938, was a public and above all media success: more than 500 publications, including in the international press. Our communication services have evaluated the impact at 1.7 million euros in “advertising” benefits. For an exhibition that cost me less than 80,000 euros, that’s not bad …
We launched a call for tenders to change our digital processes: put more things online, publish our conferences, our seminars, give art history courses, with the Courtauld Institute in London in particular. However, it requires people, technology and a budget.
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