Visitation to Archies strong, despite COVID-19

MORE than 21,000 tickets have been sold to the Archibald Prize exhibition, as Melburnians filter down to see the prestigious exhibition at Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale.
The gallery has received great support from regional Victorians, with the exhibition’s first 21 days essentially only open to those living outside city limits.
Despite strict COVID limits on numbers, regional Victorians still turned out in force, with 9930 visitors during the month of October (which included just two days where Melburnians were able to visit).
Up until Thursday, November 4, the gallery had sold more than 21,500 tickets to the Archibald Prize – which includes tickets sold to past sessions, and the remaining days of the exhibition through to the exhibition’s end on November 21.
While there wasn’t a huge surge in visitors when regional Victoria and Melbourne fell under the same restrictions, visitor numbers are still steadily increasing week by week.
The gallery is expecting numbers to rise significantly once Melburnians begin to venture further afield.
New Wellington Shire Council mayor Ian Bye was appreciative of the support from regional Victorians, and in particular Gippslanders.
“Our visitation numbers, considering the restrictions in the first three weeks, have been really strong,” he said.
“Importantly, many people who are visiting the Archibald Prize from outside Wellington Shire are also sticking around and exploring the area.
“They are supporting the local economy by spending money here, whether it be grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat, staying a night or two, or purchasing from local suppliers.
“We’re looking forward to the final few weeks of the exhibition when we expect more and more people from Melbourne will get out and explore the regions, and we will continue to see that flow-on to the local economy.”