Ferens Art Gallery is in the running to become Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, the biggest museum and art gallery prize in the world. Now, the gallery is urging the residents and visitors to pledge their support.
Making the final five means it is one of the best museums in the country following a record breaking year in the spotlight when Hull celebrated being UK City of Culture. The Ferens was recognised for commissioning the UK’s largest naked art work with Spencer Tunick in 2016. His photographs, formed part of an internationally renowned exhibition SKIN and the Ferens also played host to the Turner Prize, one of the world’s most renowned arts prizes.
Simon Green, Director of Cultural Services at Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “We are immensely proud to have been shortlisted for this significant award. It is the world’s biggest prize in recognition of the best museum or art gallery and to win would be incredible for the city.
“We need to show the judges and the world that Ferens Art Gallery wants to win and deserves to win. We need everyone’s backing, highlighting how much the gallery means to the people of Hull and the wider region.”
To show your support visit the gallery, it is free, share your experiences, pictures and best memories within the gallery or on social media using the #museumoftheyear and #loveFerens
The Ferens’ bid to win the award is backed by several key figures within the Hull and UK Art community.
Councillor Stephen Brady OBE, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “This is great news for the city. The gallery played a major role in the art programme, achieving a record-breaking year with visitor numbers and a world-class programme. To be chosen as a finalist opens up more opportunities for the gallery and builds on the profile further.
“I have seen first-hand how art and culture can inspire and improve lives; the council is committed to ensuring the Ferens will continue to succeed and bring the very best art to Hull. The quality of the competition is extremely high but the time is right for Ferens Art Gallery to win and to continue to tell its story to the world.”
Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull and Admiral of the Humber, Councillor John Hewitt, said: “The gallery has shown its ability to successfully host major exhibitions, attracting huge visitor numbers. This is another moment for Hull to shine and for everyone in Hull to be proud of their art gallery and city.”
Katy Fuller, Creative Director and Joint CEO of the Culture Company, which delivered Hull’s transformative City of Culture 2017 programme, said: “We are delighted by this recognition of the phenomenal success of the Ferens Art Gallery and extended our congratulations to the staff who worked tirelessly to make 2017 a game changer. Working in partnership with Ferens and Tate to deliver events such as the Turner Prize, one of the world’s most high-profile art competitions, was one of the highlights of our year and enabled Ferens to build on its excellent reputation as one of the UK’s finest regional galleries. As the only museum in the north to be shortlisted, this shows that Hull continues to remain firmly in the cultural spotlight as we all work together to build a strong legacy from 2017.”
Spencer Tunick, international artist commissioned for Sea of Hull, said: “The Ferens Art Gallery is such a deserving candidate for this award. Their ambition and boldness are contagious and it was wonderful to work with them on the Sea of Hull installation. I would like to wish them the very best of luck in winning this award.”
Hannah Scorer, Sea of Hull participant, said: “When I reflect back, participating in Sea of Hull was the moment I first really felt the gathering momentum of Hull’s year as City of Culture. Almost two years on, every time I go into Ferens I feel a little thrill that there is a piece of art hanging in there that I am part of. Recently I was there with my young daughter, showing her approximately where I stood. A visitor standing next to me gave us a little smile and said ‘that’s right near where I was’ – this shared, conspiratorial joy over feeling part of something special and unique is one of the legacies of the project for those of us who took part. I am very aware of how rare and privileged an experience it is to have the opportunity to be part of the creation of a piece of art in your own city, and to then be able to see that piece hanging in your local gallery. The legacy of participation extends into the way I interact with the city – I think it will always be a source of joy to be walking down a street busy with traffic, people and noise and remember seeing it silent and empty but for 3,000 naked, painted bodies lying on the concrete as dawn broke.”
Waldemar Januszczak, art critic, said: “There are a 1,000 good reasons to go to Hull. For me, the best of them is the Ferens Art Gallery. The collection is full of surprises, and the recent refit has transformed the spaces. The Turner Prize looked really good in there.”
Gareth Neame OBE, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA award Producer of Downton Abbey, said: “What a huge delight it is to visit The Ferens – a real gem and without doubt one of the stand out small art galleries in the UK. And what a wonderful organisation the Art Fund is, having done such great work to promote and retain works of art in this country. In the year immediately following Hull’s successful innings as our latest City of Culture it is absolutely fitting that the Ferens has made the final shortlist and it so deserves to win. This is the only museum or gallery in the north of England to have made it onto the list this time and whether you live locally or from further afield across the country or abroad I urge you to make a plan to visit The Ferens.”
Tim Knox, Director of the Royal Collection, said: “This is a gallery with real treasures – from the sad-eyed Portrait of a Young Woman by Frans Hals, to a clutch of Edwardian tear-jerkers, such as Frederick William Elwell’s The First Born of 1913. Add to that a rich group of Modern British pictures, and some exciting new commissions from contemporary artists to celebrate last years’ hugely successful City of Culture. Completely rehung and relit, with spectacular loans from HM The Queen and innovative public programmes welcoming locals and visitors alike. In short, The Ferens, is one of the most exciting places to see and learn about art in Britain today.”
Sir Jonathan Marsden, former Director, Royal Collection Trust, said: “It has been inspiring to take part in several collaborations with the Ferens in the last few years. By any measure – the quality of the collection, the capabilities and ambition of the tiny staff, the extent, enthusiasm and engagement of local voluntary support, or the recent acquisitions, exhibitions and spectacular attendance figures – this is a truly outstanding Gallery at the top of its game.”
Cosey Fanni Tutti has also shown her support for the gallery in the Guardian.
The winner will be announced Thursday 5 July.
To show your support visit the gallery, it is free and share your experiences, photos and best memories within the gallery or on social media using the #MuseumoftheYear and #loveFerens