In Depth

Northern soul: Hull dazzles as 2017's City of Culture

The Yorkshire city puts creativity at its heart as it begins its residency as the UK's most vibrant artistic centre

Hull started 2017 with a bang, as a spectacular New Year's Day fireworks display seen by more than 60,000 people ushered in a year of activity as the new UK City of Culture.

One of the first people involved in the celebrations arrived less than an hour into the new year. Lincoln Marshall-Godfrey was officially the first baby born in Hull in 2017 and swiftly had his arrival documented as part of the Born into a City of Culture artwork, which will record the footprint of every child born in the city throughout the year.

Art naturally plays a central role in the City of Culture activities and in January, two very different exhibitions will kick-start the festivities. At the Hull Maritime Museum, visitors can get up close and personal with Bowhead, a lifelike audio-visual installation depicting a Greenland right whale. It was created by University of Hull and Hull School of Art and Design to commemorate the city's whaling heritage and will be on display until 19 March. Elsewhere, the British Museum's touring exhibition of sketches by some of the most revered artists in history arrives at the Brynmor Jones Library. Lines of Thought is a free exhibition that examines the genius behind some of the world's best-loved masterpieces and includes preliminary drawings and studies from the likes of Degas, Matisse, Rembrandt and Michelangelo.

Another artistic highlight is the reopening of Ferens Art Gallery at the end of January following a £4.5m renovation. This autumn it will become one of only a handful of venues outside London ever to host the Turner Prize. In the meantime, visitors can discover the work of Hull-based artists at an extra-special 50th anniversary edition of the Open Exhibition, which shines a spotlight on local talent.

Famous faces with ties to Hull will be popping up throughout the year to take part in the celebrations. This includes Hull-born actress Maureen Lipman, who will join the judging panel for the Open Exhibition, and local playwright Richard Bean, who in February will premier The Hypocrite, a new comedy based on Sir John Hotham, a Hull governor from the 17th century.

One of the city's most famous exports is the late director and screenwriter Anthony Minghella, who studied at the University of Hull. Taking place throughout January, Anthony Minghella: A Retrospective, celebrates the Oscar-winning filmmaker's achievements with a series of events including live discussions, script readings and screenings of his best-known work, starting with The Talented Mr Ripley on 24 January. This will be followed by screenings of Cold Mountain and The English Patient, all taking place at Minghella's alma mater.

For more information see hull2017.co.uk

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