Ferens Art Gallery celebrates a record breaking year in 2017

Since the Ferens Art Gallery reopened in January 2017 it has hosted an array of critically acclaimed exhibitions, attracting record numbers of visitors.

This year’s Turner Prize has welcomed over 116,000 visitors. The four nominees, Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Rosalind Nashashibi and winner Lubaina Himid drew in the crowds, making it the second most visited Turner Prize exhibition outside London.

Turner Prize 2017 ceremony – Lubaina Himid with A Fashionable Marriage. Photo © Chris Pepper.

Lubaina Himid, winner of Turner Prize 2017. Photo © Chris Pepper.

Skin: Freud, Mueck and Tunick featured works by world renowned artists Ron Mueck, Lucian Freud and Spencer Tunick, the iconic Sea of Hull artist. Other exhibitions included the 50th Open Exhibition, Francis Bacon and the Rembrandt masterpiece on loan from The Royal Collection Trust.

In total, more than 519,000 people have visited Ferens Art Gallery in 2017 – increasing visitor numbers by 309 percent compared with 2014.

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 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.”

Turner Prize 2017 opening. Photo © Chris Pepper.

Katy Fuller, executive producer on this year’s Turner Prize and creative director of the Culture Company, Hull 2017’s continuing 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 is set to kick off the year with its annual Open Exhibition, opening in February. The exhibition gives amateur and professional artists the chance to have their work on display. Last year’s exhibition received the royal seal of approval when the Duchess of Cornwall bought a piece.

Other highlights include Masterpieces in Focus from the Royal Collection Trust. The second of five exceptional loans brings a Sir Anthony van Dyck painting to the gallery – Charles I in Three Positions, 1635 – 1636.

And for those feeling nostalgic you can step into the world of Smallfilms and discover the original puppets. The exhibition, organised by the V&A Museum of Childhood, will put you face to face with Bagpuss, the Soup Dragon and 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.

Ferens Art Gallery is free and open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am  – 4.30pm.