You may have noticed one or two changes around the city recently. Changes that begin to reveal some of the exciting developments happening all around us as we draw ever closer to 2017.
From the temporary closing of Ferens Art Gallery for refurbishment to the digging up of the roads around the Marina, revealing echoes of hull’s past in the form of long buried tram lines, the face of this proud city is beginning to change.
As with all change, investments and developments such as these projects are bound to draw negative comments from some. For me though these projects are nothing but exciting glimpses of what Hull has the potential to become. They are windows onto our future as a city, as we turn a cultural and creative corner and establish ourselves on the UK map as a centre for fantastic arts, music, theatre and creativity. The city has long had strong, vibrant creative scenes. It’s now time to celebrate what we have and look at how we can encourage creative people in all areas, of all backgrounds and of all ages to proudly show their work to the world.
For me, as an artist and designer who works in and around Hull with a varied palette of creative people, businesses and groups, 2017 is a date marked clearly in my diary. Of course the year itself will be a celebration of Hull culture but it’s the years beyond 2017 that I’m most excited about. It’s what 2017 can lay the foundations for. It’s the legacy that being the City of Culture has to potential to create.
As that date approaches and millions look to the city it is important that we have the right setting for each and every one of these cultural experiences, be that art, theatre, music, poetry, film or dance. We need venues that can compete with the best in the country. We need gallery and exhibition space that draws people in from further afield and exhibits both recognised work and that of artists looking to establish themselves. We need public spaces that look and feel like they belong in a City of Culture. For those detractors who suggest the developments aren’t needed or that the money is best spent elsewhere I would argue that in order for the city to see real change we need to look to the arts and embrace these developments wholeheartedly.
They are not only significant changes for 2017 but drastic and potentially life altering changes for future generations who grow up, live and create in the city. They are the building blocks of Hull’s future.