This lesson complements an NPR Marketplace segment exploring the effects of the rising costs of insurance for high-profile art exhibits since September 11.


Cost/Benefit Analysis, Decision Making, Insurance, Profit


  • Identify factors that affect profit.
  • Assess artists' marketability in order to predict success or failure for an art exhibit.
  • Make decisions regarding the management of a business.


ArtMarketplace, a daily economics news program heard on National Public Radio, featured a story on January 8, 2002 titled "Art Post-9/11." In this segment, reporter Beatrice Black explores the effects of September 11 had on the art community. In this lesson, students will be looking at the economic decision making of both art owners and the museums that want to display the borrowed works. You will also want to discuss with your students the benefits and costs associated with this type of arrangement for both parties involved.


[Note to teacher: The following link requires RealPlayer .]


The students will listen to the Marketplace segment (play from 8:00 through 11:17), or they will read the transcript: Art Post 9-11. They will analyze the following while listening or reading:Haning a picture

  • What new considerations must a curator make prior to selecting an exhibit to show? [Insurance costs.]
  • How are some galleries or museums responding to the new threat of terrorism? [By refusing to show large, expensive exhibits.]

Individually or in small group work, the students will act as curators of a museum.

As the curators of an art museum, the students are charged with the task of choosing a collection of work to highlight in an exhibit. They have been provided with three possible candidates: one unknown artist, one moderately-known artist, and one famous artist. The students will have to reflect on many economic factors to determine which of the three exhibits will be the most profitable for the museum.

They will then open the Art Museum interactive activity and follow the instructions it provides.

(This activity is not intended to simulate all the financial decisions and business practices involved in curators' work. Its purpose is to engage students in identifying factors that bear on the success or failure of certain business decisions. The dollar values represented here have been selected by reference to the costs of similar exhibits, but in some cases they have been artificially inflated or deflated to help demonstrate lesson objectives. Note that a text version of the Marketplace segment is attached, for use according to your judgment about student needs.)


To evaluate understanding of this activity, teachers can refer to the printed documents in the Interactive activity as well as the responses from the conclusion portion of this lesson.


The students will review all three outcomes and then answer the following questions:Art Gallery

  • Was your chosen exhibit profitable? Why or why not?
  • What factors most influenced the outcome of your exhibit?
  • What events or factors had you not previously considered?
  • Were you surprised by the outcome? Why or why not?


$10 Billion to Host the Winter Olympic Games: Is it worth it?
In this EconEdLink lesson, students learn about costs and revenues related to the '98 Winter Games in Nagano. Discussion questions about estimated benefits and costs to the host city are presented.


  • “This website provides wonderful economic tools.”

    Jennifer Y., Seminole, FL   POSTED ON April 30, 2004

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