Cultural sector impacted strongly by pandemic in 2020

Ljubljana – The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures had a major impact on the Slovenian cultural sector last year with official statistics showing the turnout at museums and theatres slumping to roughly a third of the figures seen the year before. Meanwhile, many events and activities moved online.

Data released by the Statistics Office (SURS) shows Slovenian museums and galleries held 893 in-person exhibitions last year, which compares to 1,406 in 2019.

The exhibitions attracted just over 989,000 visitors, compared to 2.8 million the year before. The fall is less substantial when looking at the average number of visitors per an exhibition, which fell to 1,108, compared with 1,992 the year before.

Nearly 94% of the 93 museums and galleries included in the survey reported their activities have been scaled down last year, but 73% also reported that the lockdowns encouraged them to offer other forms of activities.

For the first time, SURS asked museums and galleries about the number of e-exhibitions, units of content designed by the curator or author specifically for the virtual space. The institutions reported holding 185 such e-exhibitions in 2020, estimating visitor numbers at more than 650,000.

Museums and galleries reported generating around EUR 1.8 million from ticket sales, which compares with around EUR 3.9 million in 2019. They also issued almost 269,000 admission-free tickets, compared with over 549,000 the year before.

Meanwhile, production of events for the stage contracted by about 45% last year. Cultural, theatre and music establishments staged 11,222 in-person performances (including premieres and reruns), which were attended by around 1.5 million visitors.

Almost 98% of those institutions reported being impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, but around 71% were also encouraged to put on forms of activity other than those on stage.

These institutions also put on 3,974 e-events for virtual audiences. Most of those (27.9%) were film and video projections, and about as many (27.6%) were theatrical performances, which includes plays, puppet and experimental theatre shows.

About 26% of the events performed at the cultural institutions were admission-free. Meanwhile, box office revenue amounted to around EUR 5.3 million, roughly a third of that in 2019.

The cultural institutions organized 174 festivals, featuring a total of 2,129 events. Most were music and dance festivals (70), 26 were theatre festivals and 20 film festivals, with the remaining 58 classified as other.