More than 519,000 people have visited Ferens Art Gallery in 2017, as Hull celebrated being UK City of Culture and has been hailed the most successful year in its 90 year history. This is an increase of 309 per cent compared to 2014.
Since reopening on 14 January 2017 after a £5.2m major refurbishment, the gallery, operated by Hull Culture and Leisure, has hosted an array of critically acclaimed exhibitions including the world’s most prestigious contemporary art awards the Turner Prize.
It is the second most visited Turner Prize exhibition outside of London with over 116,0000 visits since opening on Tuesday 26 September 2017. This year’s winner, Lubaina Himid, was announced at a glittering awards ceremony in Hull on Tuesday 5 December.
Other exhibitions included Skin – developed and curated by the gallery team – on display between 22 April and 13 August, featuring works by world renowned artists Spencer Tunick, Ron Mueck and Lucian Freud, attracting 176,443 visitors and the 50th Open Exhibition, Francis Bacon and the Rembrandt masterpiece on loan from The Royal Collection Trust.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said:
“The past year has been a memorable time for the gallery, hosting many incredible installations and exhibitions including Skin and the Turner Prize and welcoming over 519,000 people. These record breaking numbers have exceeded all our expectations and are a great vote of confidence from the public and visitors.”
“As Chair of the Hull Culture & Leisure Board I would like to thank staff for all their hard work in the run up to and during 2017 without which none of this would be possible.”
“We hope this special year has raised the profile of the gallery locally, regionally and nationally and we look forward to an exciting 2018, with more high profile exhibitions and installations taking place and a strong learning programme for Hull’s young people.”
Katy Fuller, who was Executive Producer for the Turner Prize coming to Hull and is now Creative Director of Culture Company, which delivered the Hull 2017 programme and is continuing as a national arts organisation, said:
“We are delighted by the success of the Turner Prize coming to Hull as part of its City of Culture year, in particular the response and debate it generated amongst visitors of all ages. Having one of the world’s most high profile art competitions here has been a highlight of the Hull 2017 visual arts programme. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity for the Ferens to build on its strong reputation as one of the UK’s finest regional galleries and we look forward to what’s in store for it in 2018 and beyond.”
The gallery will kick-off 2018 with the annual Open Exhibition on display from Saturday 17 February. It is an exciting opportunity for amateur and professional artists to showcase work in a variety of media, many of which are also for sale and on display until Sunday 22 April.
Other exhibitions will include Masterpieces in Focus from the Royal Collection Trust as part of a five-year partnership. The second of five exceptional loans brings an important painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck to the gallery between Saturday 28 April – Sunday 29 July 2018. Charles I in Three Positions, 1635 – 1636 shows the king from three viewpoints each with different patterned lace collars and coloured clothing.
From Saturday 12 May visitors will be able to come into the world of Smallfilms to discover original puppets and meet Bagpuss, see the Soup Dragon and behold Noggin the Nog. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, the exhibition will go behind the scenes of some of their other creations; Pogles Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine.
See how the characters developed; learn how Oliver and Peter developed their stop-frame animation techniques, alongside a selection of toys and puppets from Hull Museums’ permanent collection. This major exhibition is organised by the V&A Museum of Childhood.
With free admission The Ferens Art Gallery is open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm. It is also open until 7.30pm every Thursday.