That was the year that was…

What a year, eh? Never before has Hull played host to such a party, nor its people partied so hard.

2,000 events in more than 250 venues, galleries, museums and performances spaces, as well as countless other events on the fringes. I’ve not been to all of them, obviously. But we did see loads of things. Loads of different things. Loads of extraordinary things. It’s been a mind-blowingly different, positive and exceptional year of spectacles, shared moments, intimate events, world class artists and local purveyors of cultural shenanigans.

Hats off to the team that pulled it all off and, in the process, played a big part in restoring the sense of pride and optimism in the city that I recall this place had when I was growing up. What a city in which to be a youngster right now, surrounded by cultural activity and a can-do attitude and with arts high on the agenda in classrooms. May that bubble never burst.

In the weeks and months and years to come we need to keep riding the wave of momentum set in motion by Hull’s year in the spotlight. Can’t wait to see and experience what happens next and what the long-term positives for Hull’s citizens are. To contort a Ghandi quote, a city’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people, so this ride doesn’t stop just because 2017 now resides in the memory; the year is a gift to the future of Hull.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2018 and beyond.

And while you deal with your 365-day induced hangover, here’s a nice boilerplate…

  • At least 9 in 10 residents have experienced the hundreds of new commissions and artworks created to celebrate the UK City of Culture year.
  • 2,500 volunteers have given 33 years of activity, or more than 300,000 hours.
  • More than £32m raised to deliver the year, made possible by 80 funding partners. Building on Hull City Council’s £3.6 million investment as Host City, this represents a 9:1 return.
  • 79 per cent of Hull 2017 funding is dedicated to public facing activities, including the widest range of cultural events in every corner of the city and legacy.
  • 60 projects across the city involving local people and artists funded through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme.
  • 85 events in the Back to Ours Festival, which took place during three half terms as part of Hull 2017, bringing circus, comedy, theatre, music and film to schools, shopping centres, community centres and other ‘on the doorstep’ venues, and seen by more than 8,000 people.

 

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