‘More Than Art’, Social and Economic Impact Study of SAM Reveals

On Tuesday 26 November 2013, the Melbourne Business School in partnership with Deakin University, Arts Victoria and the Public Galleries Association Victoria (PGAV) launched a report on the Best Practice Models of Economic and Social Impact in Public Art Museums, based on research of four institutions who they believe to be demonstrating best practise. One of the showcased institutions was Shepparton Art Museum (SAM).

Preceding the report launch, an afternoon symposium was held where the directors of the four institutions profiled, candidly discussed their strategies and the impact that these art museums have brought to their communities to support the report's research findings. These included:

Karen Quinlan – Director, Bendigo Art Gallery
Melinda Martin – Director, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art
Kirsten Paisley – Director, Shepparton Art Museum
Sue Roff – Executive Director, Arts Project Australia

The session was chaired by Associate Professor Jody Evans (Melbourne Business School) and Dr Kerrie Bridson (Deakin University); lead researchers and authors of the report Best Practice Models of Economic & Social Impact in Public Art Museums.

The Melbourne Business School also invited philanthropist Carrillo Gantner to speak on why philanthropists should invest in regional cities, using Shepparton as an example.

The research surrounding SAM for Best Practice Models of Economic and Social Impact in Public Art Museums was conducted with a focus group of approximately 30 internal and external stakeholders during August 2013, including Councillors, visitors to SAM and members of the Friends of SAM. It concluded that:

SAM's inputs, activities and outputs result in a number of important personal and collective outcomes. These outcomes include a boost to tourism in the region, new opportunities for local artists, increased social contact and improvements to health, confidence and self-esteems for members of the Greater Shepparton community.

There was a great sense of dynamism and energy when external stakeholders discussed SAM. This can be partly attributed to the strength of the art museum's cultural development program. As external stakeholders noted:

‘It's not just a place to come and be, it's a place that does things and it brings the communities together and brings tourists in and we want more of that.'
‘I love how inclusive SAM is with trying to reach out to different parts of the community whether it's Indigenous or new immigrants. I think using art as a medium for building relationships is really important.'

Whilst the social and economic impacts are of great importance, most public art museums also aspire to have a strong intrinsic impact. Certainly, SAM has a powerful impact on the individuals who engage with its collection, exhibitions and programs. The intrinsic impact of the visual arts in terms of creative stimulation, learning and thinking is particularly important in regional communities.

To view the full report, visit: http://brandingthearts.com/research-projects/

Shepparton Art Museum is proudly provided by Greater Shepparton City Council, located at 70 Welsford Street, Shepparton. For general SAM enquiries and bookings please contact: (03) 5832 9861, email art.museum@shepparton.vic.gov.au, or visit www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au.

SAM is open 7 days from 10am to 4pm (public holidays 1pm to 4pm), and closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday.

For more information regarding this media release and for interview and photo/video opportunities, please contact SAM Marketing Co-ordinator Amina Barolli on ph: (03) 5832 9522 E: amina.barolli@shepparton.vic.gov.au.