Everson Museum of Art Makes Major Impact on Local Community

The Everson Museum of Art made a significant impact on the Syracuse community with world-class Impressionist art exhibit Turner to Cézanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales. The reach of the exhibit stretched beyond the museum and into downtown and regional businesses, restaurants, schools, and arts and cultural organizations, making it a true economic success to the greater Syracuse community.

Everson Museum of Art
Everson Museum of Art

Since Oct. 9, 2009, more than 60,050 visitors flocked to the Everson Museum of Art, where Renoir’s “La Parisienne,” a Monet “Waterlilies” and 51 other masterpieces were on view during Turner to Cézanne’sonly Northeast run, which ended Jan., 3, 2010. During the course of the exhibit, the Museum welcomed over 500 new members.

“We are proud to report such fantastic results at the close of this show. Turner to Cézanne engaged the entire community and allowed the Everson to form meaningful partnerships,” said Everson Director Steven Kern. “The exhibit was a triumph for both the Everson and the Syracuse community as a whole. Turner to Cézanne helped shine the spotlight on the museum and the city in a positive way.”

Cultural Collaborations
The Everson partnered with a number of local arts and cultural organizations to present programs and events inspired by the exhibition to help draw visitors.

Civic Morning Musicals presented a free concert series highlighting composers who worked during the time period of the artists in the exhibition; Onondaga Historical Association presented the exhibition “The Salt City Comes of Age: Syracuse during the Impressionist Era in America, 1880-1915”; Syracuse Stage presented “The Woman in the Blue Dress”; Syracuse Opera presented “La Bohème” and “L’huere exquise”; and Syracuse Symphony Orchestra presented “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Impressionist Masters”. The Everson also offered programming in conjunction with the Onondaga County Public Library, The Warehouse Gallery, Civic Morning Musicals and Syracuse Vocal Ensemble.

“Syracuse Opera’s collaborations with the Everson Museum of Art and Turner to Cézanne provided artistic excitement to our 35th Anniversary Season. Our audiences do not cross over as much as we initially assumed, so it provided a great opportunity to expose opera goers to the Everson and art museum devotees to opera,” said Cathy Wolff, Syracuse Opera General and Artistic Director. “This was a fantastic opportunity for Syracuse arts and cultural organizations to band together around a common theme. I hope it is just the first of many such partnerships!”

Attendance at each of the Turner to Cézanne collaborative events and programs was favorable:
More than 1,100attended Syracuse Stage’s The Woman in the Blue Dress in the Everson’s Hosmer Auditorium.
3,414attended the Syracuse Opera’s productions.
4,326attended the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra performances.

Weekly concerts presented by Civic Morning Musicals at the Everson enjoyed record attendance.
Barre O’Neil and the Setnor Musicians worked with Everson staff to develop the first audio tour for the visually impaired, called Tonalities. Both tours were available to visitors of the exhibit.

“The Turner to Cézanne exhibit established the foundation for future collaborations among the arts and cultural organizations in Syracuse,” said Kern. “Together, we helped pave the way for future partnerships that have the ability to impact the overall community in a hugely powerful way.”

Tourism Impact
Alongside the success of cultural and artistic collaborations, Turner to Cézanne was also the inspiration for collaborations with local businesses that led to increased patronage of downtown restaurants and shops. The Dinner with the Masters program, sponsored by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse with promotional support from News 10 Now, allowed Turner to Cézanne visitors to receive a three-course meal for $25 or less at 17 downtown restaurants by showing their ticket stub. All restaurants reported increases in weekend traffic, as well as significant increases in new customers, particularly Canadian visitors.

“This type of cross promotion between culture and commerce has the greatest positive impact on the downtown’s economic vibrancy and quality of life,” said David Mankiewicz, executive director of the Downtown Committee. “We will look for additional opportunities to partner with downtown’s cultural institutions as they continue to secure these types of unique programs.”

“The exhibition was key in generating overnight stays in Syracuse this fall,” said David Holder, president of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Over 70 of the Syracuse CVB’s Turner to Cézanne -themed overnight packages were purchased by incoming visitors. Also, our targeted media outreach in Ottawa, Albany and Buffalo to promote the exhibition created an ongoing buzz and excitement about the Syracuse area that we will continue to build off of to create more awareness of our area as a destination.”

Reaching Students
In addition to paid admissions, the museum served more than 9,300 school children from across Upstate New York with free docent-led tours. From workshops, classes and events to speakers and tours, the Everson’s Education Department implemented a number of hands-on programs in conjunction with Turner to Cézanne to make the experience both educational and fun. Over the summer, students from the Syracuse City School District participated in creating an audio tour for the exhibit by reading Haiku poems they wrote that were inspired by the exhibit’s art works.

“We were thrilled with the response from area schools making requests to bring school children in for docent led tours. Our volunteer docents have trained for over a year to provide the most engaging and educational experience possible,” said Pam McLaughlin, Everson Museum of Art Curator of Education and Public Programs. “We are also extremely grateful to our education sponsor, The Dorothy & Marshall M. Riesman Foundation, which made it possible to provide free admission to all school children on scheduled tours.”

Financial, Volunteer Support
Major funding for Everson presentation provided by sponsor M&T Bank; co-sponsor Hiscock & Barclay, LLP; education sponsor The Dorothy & Marshall M. Reisman Foundation; gallery sponsors NationalGrid and The Post-Standard.
Additional funding or support provided by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grant made possible by Senator John DeFrancisco; the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York grant made possible by Assemblyman William Magnarelli; the Everson Museum of Art Members’ Council; The Gifford Foundation; WCNY-TV; Arthur and Cheryl Grant; Dr. Paul E. Phillips and Ms. Sharon Sullivan; and Syracuse-area businesses, organizations and individuals.

The overall high attendance to Turner to Cézanne demanded higher staffing than ever, in part by 90 volunteers who dedicated a total of over 2,600hours at the museum.
“Once you applaud the numerous organizations and individuals who came together to make this exhibition a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we must thank our sponsors, who made it possible,” said Steven Kern, Everson Museum of Art Director. “Without the generous financial support from M&T Bank, Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, the Dorothy & Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, the Post-Standard and National Grid, we would not have been able to bring these masterpieces to Syracuse.”

Turner to Cézanne is organized by the American Federation of Arts and National Museum Wales and supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The Everson Museum of Art, whose roots extend to 1897, is internationally recognized for its extensive and significant collection of ceramics, its pioneering art video collection and its distinctive structural design by the noted architect I.M. Pei. In addition to exhibitions, the Everson presents a monthly Contemporary Film Series, regular Artists Open events, and a wide variety of art education programs.

For more information and other upcoming events, visit www.everson.org or call (315) 474-6064. The Everson is also on Facebook, www.facebook.com/EversonMuseumOfArt.

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