Banksy’s Anti-Capitalist ‘Dismaland’ Gives Seaside Town a $30 Million Boost

Britain’s Weston-super-Mare finds itself in the midst of an unexpected art windfall.

via wikimedia commons user Abigal Owen Curator

Victoria Upward, who manages an Italian restaurant in the British seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, says her clientele has changed considerably since last year.

“Traditionally, we would have small families or coach trips," she told BBC. "But we've had Americans, Germans, hipsters, new age travellers, you name it."

There are also more of them. Reservations for the Italian eatery have been booked every night.

Upward’s isn’t the only Weston-super-Mare establishment doing particularly well since August 20. The local trade association announced this week that the town has brought in an additional $30.4 million (£20 million) since the internationally famous street artist Banksy opened his “Dismaland” exhibit there last month. That’s nearly three times the board’s previous estimates.

Dismaland, a less-than-cheery take on Disneyland (and the capitalist system it represents), features irreverent art by Banksy and others. BBC reports that an estimated 150,000 visitors have traveled to the formerly abandoned beach attraction that houses the exhibit since it opened. The temporary installation will close this coming Sunday.

via wikimedia commons user Florent Darrault

Hotels and bed and breakfasts—which might otherwise be half-full in September—have received the biggest boon. But many of the town’s residents have become entrepreneurial, charging up to $7.60 for makeshift parking spots. That’s nearly twice the park’s $4.50 entry fee.

“Everyone,” BBC writes, “has noted the irony of the anti-capitalist art show boosting business.”

via wikimedia commons user Florent Darrault