Cincinnati Art Museum Just Set a Record High Attendance Number

With a full summer and spring, which included the ever-popular "Burning Man" exhibition, the CAM shattered multiple attendance records

click to enlarge "The Art of Burning Man" exhibition set record high attendance numbers for the Cincinnati Art Museum - Hailey Bollinger
Hailey Bollinger
"The Art of Burning Man" exhibition set record high attendance numbers for the Cincinnati Art Museum

Just a year after their record-breaking Terracotta Army exhibition, the Cincinnati Art Museum has set new highs — and exceedingly so.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which ran from April 26-Sept.2, attracted 187,630 visitors. That makes it the highest attended exhibition ever recorded in CAM’s 133-year-long history. In comparison, Terracotta Army, which was ticketed, brought in 91,626. That made it the highest ticketed exhibition since 1982’s Treasures From the Tower of London

Burning Man, though free to the public, surpassed both. This year also set a record-high of 346,000 total visitors during CAM’s fiscal year, which runs between Sept. 1, 2018-Aug. 31, 2019. (Previously that record was set in 1973.)

This spring also saw the highly-anticipated and well-performing ticketed exhibition Paris 1900: City of Entertainment. Other shows from the past fiscal year have included Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World; Life: Gillian Wearing; The Fabric of India; Art Academy of Cincinnati at 150; A Celebration in Drawings and Prints; and Kimono: Refashioning Contemporary Style.

As cited in a press release, the last five years have produced increasing attendance numbers due in part to the addition of evening hours, growth in public programs, new galleries and the Rosenthal Education Center, which opened in 2015. 

“We are excited to announce this historic achievement. But while attendance numbers are important, they are only one part of the measurement of our success,” says Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director Cameron Kitchin in the release. “The progress we are making on our civically-oriented strategic plan and the fact that we are continuing to embrace our mission to ‘contribute to a more vibrant Cincinnati by inspiring its people and connecting our communities’ are equally as notable to us, as a museum for all Cincinnatians.”

Looking ahead, more events and exhibitions will soon be underway at the museum. Starting Oct. 17, CAM’s annual four-day event Art in Bloom will unfold. Working within the theme of “Light," this event places over 80 floral arrangements next to artworks from the museum's collection. Also this fall is Treasures of the Spanish World, which opens Oct. 25 and runs through Jan. 19.

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Mackenzie Manley

Mackenzie Manley is a freelance journalist based in Greater Cincinnati. She currently works as Campbell County Public Library’s public relations coordinator, which means most of her days are spent thinking about books and community (and making silly social media posts). She’s written a bit of everything, including...
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