More folk pay to watch films at DCA than visit free galleries

Dundee Contemporary Arts
Dundee Contemporary Arts

City libraries are the most popular in Scotland and more people pay to watch films at Dundee Contemporary Arts than visit free galleries.

Figures from the city’s cultural centres, which receive more than £60,000 from the council budget, are contained in a new report for councillors.

The biggest chunk of money goes, unsurprisingly, to Leisure and Culture Dundee — the organisation responsible for the upkeep of the city’s libraries, sport centres and swimming pools.

The local authority has ploughed more than £7.5 million into the body and, according to the report, it is reaping results.

The report to the policy and resources committee notes Dundee has the highest percentage of library users among its population out of all Scottish local authorities.

Library visits in 2016-17 dropped by 9% compared to the previous year but the council said that could be explained by the closure of Lochee library for five weeks’ maintenance.

Central library visitor numbers are increasing again after the cafe reopened.

The reopening and refurbishment of Lochee swimming pool saw visitor numbers increase by 63,500 in 2017, while Dundee Ice Arena recorded a 5% increase in visitors — coinciding with Dundee Stars ice hockey club’s first-ever appearance in the play-off finals in Nottingham and local figure skater Natasha McKay’s victory in the senior British Ladies’ Championships.

Dundee Contemporary Arts received £241,000 from the council in the last financial year. It celebrated a number of milestones, including hosting the first Scottish exhibition by world-renowned artist Mark Vallinger.

The arts venue welcomed 30,000 visitors to its galleries and achieved audience numbers of 90,000 people across 500 different films in its cinema.

Its education programme delivered activities for more than 8,000 people, including workshops for children and families and professional development sessions for local art teachers.

The centre employs 44 full-time equivalent workers and supports more than 70 artists with commissions to produce new works.

Meanwhile, Dundee Rep and the Scottish Dance Theatre received £361,034 from the public purse.