Hull is putting arts and culture at the heart of its regeneration as it aims to re-establish its reputation as a gateway to the UK. It's also one of eleven cities bidding to become the UK City of Culture in 2017. The city's Freedom Festival has shown how investment in the arts provides a strong boost for the local economy.
Freedom Festival is an example of how investment in the arts provides a strong boost for the local economy. An annual event which is supported with investment from the Arts Council, the festival hosted arts events in the city centre over two days and two evenings in September 2012. Data showed that over 75,000 people attended events at the festival, with 11 per cent staying overnight as part of a short-break in the area. The festival generated an additional investment in the city of approximately £2.6m. £6.80 was generated in additional expenditure for every £1 spent on delivering the event. This year’s festival took place between 6-9 September.
Leading UK artist Richard Wilson recently created his new work in Hull. Slipstream, a 70-metre-long sculpture weighing 77 tonnes, was made in Hull by CSi, will be displayed at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2.
Hull has also been awarded £3m over three years to develop the arts and culture offer within the city. The investment comes from the latest round of Arts Council England’s Creative people and places programme which helps communities and grass-roots organisations to play a leading part in shaping arts provision and inspiring people to get involved with the arts. The programme focuses on places where there is low engagement in the arts amongst the population and puts decision-making in the hands of local people.
Hull’s bid builds upon the city’s existing arts offer while also exploring new ways of engaging people in arts and cultural activities. It will draw inspiration from Hull’s rich cultural and social history and will be driven by existing and emerging creative talent in the city. The programme will be managed by a consortium of organisations including Artlink, Hull Truck Theatre, Volcom, Hull City Council and Hull and East Yorkshire Community Foundation.
Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Terry Geraghty, said: "This significant investment in the city's creative and cultural offer is great news for the city. The sizeable grant will be a catalyst to help existing and emerging talent and projects, all of which can contribute to Hull's cultural regeneration, as part of the City Plan. Well done to Hull's voluntary, community and arts sectors for coming together to make this possible and with thanks to the Arts Council for investing in Hull's culture."
Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director Arts Council England, added: “Every time I visit Hull it feels like a place with a particularly strong identity. This programme will build on the excellent work of organisations such as Hull Truck and Freedom Festival to enable its communities to further express that unique identity through the arts. Hull also has a growing cultural economy, illustrated by the fabrication in the city of Slipstream, Richard Wilson’s giant sculpture for Heathrow Airport. This new funding will enable the community to shape its own arts provision resulting in more opportunities for people in Hull to get involved in the arts and also bring more people to Hull to see what the people of the City can achieve.”