London art galleries extend late openings as demand soars in run up to Olympics

Along with all the sporting action taking place this summer, there are also a wealth of art and cultural events taking place across London in the run up to the Olympics.

They form part of the London 2012 Festival, an ongoing series of events celebrating the capital’s hosting of the Games and making stays in 5 star hotels in London a particularly good idea this year, even if you don’t have tickets to the Olympics themselves.

A number of art galleries are taking part in the London 2012 Festival and hosting special exhibitions to mark the occasion.

And according to the Independent, a number of them are having to go to extra lengths to accommodate a huge surge in demand for exhibitions, such as by issuing additional tickets and extending opening hours.

The National Portrait Gallery has released thousands more tickets for its Lucian Freud exhibition, while the National Gallery had to extend opening times for its ‘Leonardo’ exhibition.

“This year is such an incredible year for art in London,” Denise Vogelsang, the National Portrait Gallery’s head of marketing, told the newspaper.

“Galleries are increasingly looking to opening longer because there are so many blockbuster shows.”

The National Gallery even contemplated a 24-hour opening to accommodate the rush of demand for its recent Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition.

Jill Preston, the gallery’s head of communications, said: “Throughout the exhibition, there was a lot of pressure to open later. Even when we did, there was pressure to open later, even for 24 hours.”

Meanwhile, The Royal Academy has extended its opening times until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays prompted by queues for its exhibition of works by David Hockney and the Institute of Contemporary Arts has decided to go from a five-day operation to six and will open an hour earlier when its new exhibition ‘Remote Control’ opens next month.

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