The MCA introduced its free admission policy on 26 May 2000, coinciding with the opening of the 12th Biennale of Sydney. This was made possible through a generous one-year sponsorship by Telstra. Visitor traffic significantly increased overnight and reached 121,000 from June to November 2000, compared to 44,000 over the same period the year before.
This visionary move was championed by the then newly-appointed Director of the MCA, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE. She comments: “Our partnership with Telstra was founded on a shared vision to make contemporary art widely accessible and take it to new audiences. Since free admission was introduced, attendance has consistently increased year on year, especially from younger audiences. Today, we are especially delighted that 50% of our visitors are aged 35 and younger.”
Telstra has continued to stand by the MCA and is now the Museum’s official Communication Partner. Telstra’s ongoing support has been instrumental in enabling the Museum to engage over eight million visitors with the work of today’s living artists.
“This partnership was a true game-changer. It is a great example of corporate partnerships supporting the arts sector and arts-loving audiences in this country – especially at a time when government support is contracting,” Macgregor added.
Fady Taouk, General Manager of Loyalty and Partnerships at Telstra said “We are proud to have had a strong association with the MCA over so many years and thrilled that our partnership has meant so many people have enjoyed the art featured at the MCA. Art is all about storytelling and connection and that’s what we offer customers; the ability to connect with each other, share stories and access great content.”
John Kaldor AM, Director of Kaldor Public Art Projects, a former Chair of the MCA and another staunch advocate for making contemporary arts accessible to wider audiences, commented: “My heartfelt congratulations to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia – what a great achievement to celebrate on their 25th birthday! The great success of the MCA is due to its unwavering commitment to audiences and outstanding staff headed by long-time Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, whom I had the honour to appoint. I wish the Museum to continue on this successful path for the next twenty-five years, or more!”
Simon Mordant AM, Chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia said: “The Museum exists for living artists and for audiences to engage with their work. I am a great believer that we must have the widest possible community access – whether it is people coming to us, or us taking works to them or creating digital experiences nationally and internationally.”
“Our partnership with Telstra will see well over 1 million visitors to the MCA this year. The leadership of Telstra, CEO Andy Penn along with MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor must be thanked for the shared passion they have in audience engagement,” Mordant concluded.