220 thousand visitors, 71 million impact: Palazzo Strozzi gives 2023 numbers

220,000 visitors in three exhibitions, 58,000 participants in educational activities, 30 percent of the public under 35, a €71 million impact on Florence: Palazzo Strozzi gives its 2023 numbers.

More than 220 thousand visitors in the three 2023 exhibitions, 58 thousand who participated in educational activities, an economic impact on Florence worth 71 million euros. Strozzi Palace gives the numbers of the year that has just passed: the Fondazione Strozzi Palace in Florence has in fact published its Annual Report 2023, a volume that collects and analyzes the results of the past year, examining the characteristics of the audiences, the impact of communication activities, the financial performance and the economic impact on the territory.

The year 2023, the museum reports, was a very successful year that saw the participation of more than 220,000 visitors to the three major exhibitions held, a summer exhibition having been added to the traditional spring and fall exhibitions: Reaching from the Stars, a large group show dedicated to the “stars” of today’s art in collaboration with the Fondazione Sandretto Re Re Rebaudengo, Yan Pei-Ming. Painter of Stories, a retrospective devoted to the celebrated French-Chinese artist’s large canvases of history and stories, and Anish Kapoor. Untrue Unreal, a journey through monumental installations, intimate environments and disturbing forms in dialogue with the architecture of Strozzi Palace.

Thanks to the more than 110,000 “exclusive” visitors, that is, people who traveled to Florence to first and foremost visit Strozzi Palace’s exhibitions, the economic impact on the city will be around 71 million euros by 2023, the museum calculates.

Among the most significant data to be reported, as already anticipated, are the more than 58,000 people who participated in educational activities, events and initiatives related to the exhibitions, a quarter of the total audience, demonstrating the Foundation’s great ability to cultivate active visitors among various audiences: schools, families, adults, young people. In particular, audiences under 35 are confirmed as protagonists at Strozzi Palace, accounting for more than 30 percent of total visitors to exhibitions, the highest figure in the last three years.

“Since its inception, the Fondazione Strozzi Palace has produced and organized more than seventy exhibitions ranging from ancient to contemporary art,” says Arturo Galansino, General Director of the Fondazione Strozzi Palace. “The year 2023 marked a revival in particular in enhancing Florence as a cultural destination linked not only to its history but also to the contemporary. In its lively dialogue between tradition and innovation, Strozzi Palace is a unique platform in Italy for art and culture, always experimenting with new opportunities and forms of public involvement in the name of accessibility, inclusiveness and quality.”

Strozzi Palace
Strozzi Palace

The 2023 exhibitions data

The spring 2023 exhibition Reaching for the Stars. From Maurizio Cattelan to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye offered visitors the opportunity to embark on a journey among the “stars of art” through forty years of discovery and research in the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo collection. The rooms of the Piano Nobile, the Strozzina spaces and the courtyard hosted works by artists from twenty different nations, allowing an overview of a rich and diverse artistic production in a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, installations, performance, video and photography. The exhibition had a total of 65,000 visitors, 38 percent of whom were under 35. Of particular note was the great relevance of the collateral projects to the exhibition, with numerous activities for all audiences, including an exhibition at the Manifattura Tabacchi, a series of meetings with artists such as Maurizio Cattelan and Giulia Cenci, and a program of lectures culminating with the GONOGO panel.

Then in summer 2023 Strozzi Palace hosted the exhibition Yan Pei-Ming. Painter of Stories. The Sino-French artist explored the “classical” genres of Western painting-portrait, self-portrait, landscape, still life, vanitas, history painting-reworking them through strong brushstrokes with which he attacks the canvas. With this exhibition, the Hillary Merkus Recordati Foundation, chaired by Andy Bianchedi, continued its journey alongside the Fondazione Strozzi Palace. The exhibition had a total of 24,000 visitors, with an important 34 percent of residents of Florence and the Metropolitan City, confirming the importance of offering the local community a valuable cultural proposal even during the summer period.

In the wake of the series of exhibitions dedicated to the major protagonists of contemporary art, in autumn-winter 2023-2024 the Fondazione Strozzi Palace proposed the major exhibition Anish Kapoor. Untrue Unreal, conceived and realized together with the celebrated master who revolutionized the idea of sculpture in contemporary art. The exhibition offered a journey through monumental installations, intimate environments and disturbing forms, creating an original and engaging dialogue between Anish Kapoor’s art, architecture and the public at Strozzi Palace. The exhibition had a total of 131,000 visitors, including a relevant 43 percent of day trippers to Florence for the exhibition, one of the highest figures for the Foundation. The press also rewarded the originality of the project, with extensive coverage both nationally and internationally.

Economic performance 2023

The 2023 fiscal year had a balanced budget with an income volume of approximately 8 million euros, of which 33 percent (2.7 million euros) came from its own revenues (ticketing, sales, etc.), 49 percent (3.9 million euros) from sponsors and donations from private entities, and 18 percent (1.5 million euros) from public resources. Against this income, the Fondazione Strozzi Palace incurred costs of 8 million, broken down as follows: 61% (4.9 million) direct costs of producing the exhibitions and related events, 1.6 million(20%) direct structural costs and 1.5 million in depreciation and general expenses.

As it does every year, the Fondazione Strozzi Palace also estimates the economic impact of its activities on the local area, highlighting the positive effects of the use of financial resources from both the public and private sectors. The major exhibitions organized attracted more than 110,000 exclusive visitors - tourists who stayed at least one night and day-trippers who came to Florence mainly to visit the exhibitions at Strozzi Palace - generating, together with the expenses incurred for the activity, an impact on the territory of 71 million euros. “These figures,” explain the Foundation, “show how the Fondazione Strozzi Palace constitutes a real engine of culture and development for the city of Florence. Culture, economy and territory are intertwined in a model of sustainable growth, where economic value goes hand in hand with social and artistic value. Shrewd financial management and a calendar of quality exhibitions and activities with broad participation translate into concrete economic and social value, creating a significant induced income and contributing to the well-being of the local community.”

Exhibition layouts Anish Kapoor. Untrue Unreal. Photo: Ela Bialkowska | OKNO studio photography
Exhibition layouts Anish Kapoor. Untrue Unreal. Photo: Ela Bialkowska | OKNO studio photography

The Digital

In recent years, the digital dimension of Strozzi Palace’s communication has become increasingly important and prominent. The work onStrozzi Palace’s online identity continues to strengthen and expand from year to year, thus establishing its visibility online, engaging and attracting different target audiences. Home and archive of all the Foundation’s activities is the website palazzostrozzi.org, which in 2023 recorded a total of 634,000 users and 1.8 million page views. On the social community front, consisting of more than 250,000 users present in all major social networks (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, X), the more than 1,400 contents published reached 8.8 million users, an all-time record for Strozzi Palace. It is worth noting how the Instagram page @palazzostrozzi registered a 14 percent increase in its followers, reaching more than 120,000 users, making it the Foundation’s main social account.

Strozzi Palace’s next exhibition

From September 27, 2024 to January 26, 2025, Strozzi Palace presents Helen Frankenthaler : Painting Without Rules, a major exhibition dedicated to Helen Frankenthaler one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. Along with a wide selection of works created between 1953 and 2002 from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and on loan from major museums and private collections, the exhibition will allow visitors to discover the artist’s connections, influences and friendships. Indeed, Frankenthaler’s works will be compared with the work of artists contemporary with her, some part of her personal collection, such as Anthony Caro, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, David Smith, and Anne Truitt.

A key figure in the second generation of postwar American abstract painters, Frankenthaler (1928-2011) played a key role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to so-called Color Field Painting. Over a career spanning more than sixty years, Frankenthaler established herself on the American art scene through a “no rules” approach, challenging the limitations of painting techniques but also the genre expectations of the time, establishing herself as one of the leading artists of her generation. Through her eclectic imagination and improvisational skills, she explored a new relationship between color and form, expanding the possibilities of abstract painting in a way that still inspires generations of artists today. Color and space, abstraction and poetry: Frankenthaler’s art is distinguished by a unique ability to combine technique and imagination, research and improvisation, going beyond canons, rules and conventions in search of a new freedom in painting.

The exhibition is co-organized by Fondazione Strozzi Palace, Florence, and Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York, and is curated by Douglas Dreishpoon, Director, Helen Frankenthaler Catalogue Raisonné.

220 thousand visitors, 71 million impact: Palazzo Strozzi gives 2023 numbers
220 thousand visitors, 71 million impact: Palazzo Strozzi gives 2023 numbers

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