Nine out of ten people living in Hull have taken part in cultural activity in first three months of 2017, as hundreds of thousands are drawn to events across the city.
no. people who visited the City of Culture opening event - Made in Hull
Partners have welcomed figures out today that reveal the positive impact Hull being UK City of Culture 2017 is having on the city, from participation to the impact on the local economy.
Interim findings of an evaluation study being undertaken across the year by the University of Hull's Culture, Place and Policy Institute (CPPI) show that nine out of ten residents attended or experienced at least one cultural event in the city in the first three months of 2017 – the Made in Hull season. This is more than double the number participating before the city's bid.
At least 450 events, exhibitions and cultural activities took place during the first season, attracting over 1.4 million visits, with many drawing large, often sell-out audiences. As we approach the end of season two, this has now increased to a total of nearly 1000 events, exhibitions and cultural activities.
As well as 342,000 visits to the Sean McAllister directed opening event Made in Hull, more than 420,000 people are estimated to have experienced Nayan Kulkarni's installation Blade, which ran from 8 January to 18 March.
This positive trend has continued with more than half a million visits to Hull's museums and galleries in the first four months of the year. Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum have seen year-on-year increases of over 500%. It is predicted that 2017 will be the most successful year ever for the service in terms of visitor numbers.
The poppy sculpture Weeping Window, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, received over 720,000 visits at the Maritime Museum in Hull, making it the most popular venue to host the poppies since the tour began in 2015.
Additional figures released by Hull Truck Theatre this week show that 37,510 people saw a production there between January and June, an increase of over 8,000 people on the same period in 2016, with an average of 40% being new visitors.
Other findings from the University, which is the Academic Research Partner for Hull 2017, suggest that being UK City of Culture is bringing a feel good factor and increased confidence to the city.
Seven out of ten residents agree that the year is having a positive impact on the lives of local people and there have been opportunities to participate this year across the city. Hull 2017's indispensable volunteers have already undertaken more than 100,000 volunteer hours; schoolchildren across the city have been actively involved in theNo Limits learning programme; events like the Back to Ours festival have brought a wide range of events to people's doorsteps; and the 60 projects funded through the Creative Communities Programme continue to involve local people in developing artistic projects around Hull.
It is fantastic to see the huge benefits Hull is enjoying as UK City of Culture. That nine out of ten residents have experienced one of the cultural events is truly remarkable and shows how the city is embracing this special year. Cultural investment can help transform communities and we are already seeing the positive impact it is having on people's lives, local businesses and tourism in Hull. The renewed focus on culture in the city will also help secure a lasting legacy that goes far beyond 2017.
As we approach our third season Freedom, it goes almost without saying that this year has been quite a ride already. There's been an incredible response to the cultural programme and we are thrilled that 90% of people living in the city have tried at least one cultural activity. Let's not forget, this is just a snapshot - there is plenty more to come and we hope people will continue to try things out, not just this year, but beyond 2017. Of course, none of this would be possible without the vision of the council, which successfully bid for Hull to become UK City of Culture, the support and collaboration of partners, as well as the strong community of artists that will continue to ensure it remains a vibrant cultural centre.