Drive to make Hull UK City of Culture boosted by 2012 events, says councillor
AN AMBITIOUS bid to make Hull the UK City of Culture in four years' time has been given an extra boost by the success of a number of high-profile events last year.
That is the view of city council culture portfolio holder Terry Geraghty after he revealed Hull had benefited from an extra £25m of spending from visitors to events held over the past 12 months.
They includes the visit of the Olympic Torch to Hull, summer festivals such as Freedom and the Humber Street Sesh and a series of crowd-pulling exhibitions at Ferens Art Gallery, featuring works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Leonardo Da Vinci.
Council officials are preparing the groundwork for a bid to be UK Capital of Culture in 2017.
A full head colour or 1/2 head highlights, luxury Redken treatment, cut & blowdry for JUST £40 (SAVE £25) or upgrade to a full head of highlights for JUST £50 (SAVE £35). Add a spraytan for JUST £10
Terms: New customer only (not visited salon since 25/02/2013). Monday - Thursday only including late nights. Savings based on directors rates.
Contact: 01482 423178
Valid until: Wednesday, July 31 2013
Fourteen cities bid for the 2013 title with Londonderry eventually being chosen ahead of Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich.
It is intended that a different city holds the title every four years.
Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, Cllr Geraghty said the estimated spending by visitors to the events during 2012 showed how important it was to the local economy to invest in culture.
"The national average spend figure per visitor is £45 per head but, because we are Hull, we have worked on a figure of £34 per head.
"Even so, we have still see an overall spend of somewhere between £24m and £25m, which cannot be underestimated at a difficult time for the economy."
He said visitor figures for the three exhibitions at Ferens "really speak for themselves".
"We got 60,000 for Hockney, 80,000 for Warhol and, so far, Da Vinci has attracted 50,000," he said.
"Hull is becoming known for being able to put on these kind of important exhibitions and that is something I want to see continuing."
He said shows at the New Theatre were also selling out.
"That surprised me a bit because I thought money was bit short at the moment but I'm not complaining," said Cllr Geraghty.
"This year, we've got the Rugby League World Cup coming to Hull, the World Darts event is coming back to the city and we will be looking to make the Freedom Festival even better than it was last year.
"All this is part of the build-up to the bid for the UK City of Culture in 2017."
A new-look board set up to run the Freedom Festival met for the first time earlier this week.
It will operate as a charitable trust, although most of the funding for the annual festival will continue to come from the Arts Council and the city council.
Cllr Geraghty said: "We have chosen ten people to be on the board.
"They come from all walks of life but share a commitment to making this year's festival a success.
"I think they are the right people to move things forward."
He said the council was also reviewing its own catering and marketing operations in connection with cultural events in the city.
"I do think we have been found wanting in these areas," he said.