The target audience for art museums varies enormously depending on the type of art we are talking about.
For instance, someone who loves going to see impressionist paintings is likely to be very different from someone who loves going to see contemporary art.
However, there are some generalizations that we can make about the target audience for art museums.
In this article, we will focus on these commonalities between art lovers and understand what compels them to visit a museum to appreciate the art that they love.
Who Is the Target Audience for Art Museums?
To best understand the target audience for art museums we need to ask ourselves why people go to art museums. What is it that attracts them to it? Is it just the art? Are there other reasons?
Once we delve into people’s motivations for liking art and visiting art museums, we can separate the market into multiple audiences and study each audience segment on its own.
Such an exercise gives us the following audiences for an art museum:
- People who love art
- People who want to learn about art (but are not art students)
- People who love history
- People who are curious about a culture
- Art students
- School groups
- Patrons and Donors
Let’s look closely at each of these audiences for an art museum.
#1 – People who love art
The most common target audience for art museums is people who love art. They might not have any specific training in art, but they appreciate it nonetheless.
These art aficionados may be interested in a certain type of art, such as impressionism, post-impressionism, expressionism, or surrealism.
They might also be interested in a specific artist or artists. For example, they might love the works of Pablo Picasso or Vincent van Gogh.
But this group also includes people who appreciate art for the sake of art. They will visit not just the most famous art museums but also smaller, lesser-known museums so they get to see art that many others will not.
#2 – People who want to learn about art (but are not art students)
Many people are both intrigued and interested in art but never had the chance to formally study it.
These people might want to go to an art museum so they can learn more about the history of art, the different styles of art, and the different artists who created them.
By spending time in an art museum, they can gain a greater appreciation for the art that they see and also develop a more educated eye. They may also get to meet other people who also have an interest in art and can discuss what they have learned with them.
#3 – People who love history
For some people, going to an art museum is like taking a step back in time. They love seeing how people lived in different periods and how that is reflected in the art of those times.
Art can be a window into the past, and these history buffs love to spend time looking through that window. They might be interested in a specific period, such as the Renaissance or Baroque period. So they will visit art museums that carry art from these periods.
Many history buffs are also interested in the different cultures that have influenced art throughout history. So they might visit an art museum that has a collection of Asian art or Egyptian art.
#4 – People who are curious about a culture
Art is often a reflection of the culture in which it was created. So for people who are interested in learning about other cultures, visiting an art museum can be a great way to do that.
For example, someone interested in a specific culture, such as Ancient Greece or Rome may visit the Metropolitan Museum in New York or the British Museum in London, or the Louvre in Paris to see art from that period.
Likewise, someone interested in learning about African culture may visit the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian.
Visiting art museums can also be a way to discover specific aspects of culture and art such as Japanese woodblock prints or Inuit sculpture.
Many people who are a target audience for art museums believe that by understanding the art from a certain culture, they can understand that culture better.
#5 – Art students
For art students, art museums can be a gold mine of knowledge, information and inspiration. They can learn about the different styles of art, the different artists who created them, and the time periods in which they lived.
Art students can also get a sense of how art has evolved over time and how it has been influenced by different cultures. And, of course, they can also appreciate the beauty of the art itself.
Art museums are a great way to see the work of different artists up close. They can also learn about the history and techniques used by these artists.
Many art students also enjoy going to art museums as a form of inspiration. Seeing the work of other artists can give them ideas for their own projects.
Several art museums offer programs specifically for art students, such as tours, lectures, and workshops. And many also have internships or fellowships that art students can apply for.
#6 – School groups
School groups are another target audience for art museums. Teachers often take their students on field trips to art museums so that they can learn about art, history, and culture.
Some school groups also visit art museums as part of a project or assignment. For example, a group of students might be assigned to research a specific artist or time period and then present their findings to the class.
Many art museums offer special programs and resources for school groups, such as educational materials, discounted admission, and tours led by museum educators.
#7 – Patrons and Donors
Another target audience for art museums is patrons and donors. Patrons are people who provide financial support to the museum, often through donations.
Patrons may be individuals, families, or businesses. They may make one-time donations or give on a regular basis. Some patrons also choose to endow a museum, which means they make a donation that is used to create a fund that generates income for the museum over time.
Art museums will often hold private events for their patrons and donors as a way to show their appreciation. These events may be special exhibitions, receptions, or even concerts or performances.
New donors are also a target audience for art museums. Museums are always looking for new people to support their work, so they often hold special events and campaigns to attract new donors.
The target audience for art museums naturally includes people who love art but isn’t limited to this group.
People who want to learn about art (but are not art students), people who love history, and people who are curious about a culture through its art also visit art museums.
Art students and School groups often visit art museums to formally study art and its history. And finally, the target audience for art museums also includes patrons and donors without whom many museums would not be able to stay open.