The Turner Prize and everything else: our guide to art galleries in Hull

Not so dull Hull

Humber Dock Street, Hull / credit: Chris Pepper

Visiting Hull to see the Turner Prize? Don't miss the out on what else the city's art scene has to offer…

Hull's familiar with being awarded damning titles such as 'worst place in the UK', (it came second to Dover just this year). Even Philip Larkin who lived in Hull for 30 years and is touted as one of the city's proudest exports called it a 'dump'. It's a reputation the city has found difficult to shake off, but the altogether different award of 'UK City of Culture' has given it the perfect opportunity to do so – and Hull has seized it with both hands.

Visit today and you'll find yourself in a city awash with arts and culture. Proud local volunteers man exhibitions and events keen to show visitors a different side to their city. On 26 September one of the art world's most anticipated exhibitions will open in Hull; the Turner Prize. Thousands of art lovers are expected to descend on the city, and if you're one of them, make sure you take some time to see what else its art scene has to offer:

Feren's Gallery

Feren's Gallery, Hull's public art gallery, re-opened at the start of the year following an extensive £5.2 million makeover. The Turner Prize will be hosted here, so there's really no excuse not to have a look around the city's permanent collection too, which is widely regarded as one of the finest regional collections in the country. Highlights include The Grand Canal, Venice by Canaletto and Portrait of a Young Woman by Frans Hals. As you'd expect from one of the UK's most important Ports, it also has an extensive collection of British Marine Paintings by artists such as John Ward, William Frederick Settle, Henry Redmore and Thomas Jaques Somerscales. During 2017 the gallery will also show Francis Bacon's iconic painting Head VI which is loosely based on Velazquez portrait of Innocent X.
Queen Victoria Square, Carr Lane, Hull.

Brynmor Jones Library

It's an essential visit for even the most lackadaisical Larkin fan, but it's Hull University's art collection that's the real attraction at Brynmor Library. The collection has been quietly built from scratch since the mid 1960s, when the University set aside an annual allowance of £160 to purchase art for the institution. The collection is made up of paintings and sculptures dating from between 1890 and 1940. There are some remarkable pieces, including Interior with Japanese Print by the pre-eminent Scottish Colourist Samuel Peploe and one of Augustus John's most striking portrait's Mrs Randolph Schwabe. The Camden Town Group and Bloomsbury artists are particularly well represented – partly because when the collection started they were out of fashion, so cheaper to buy. They've turned out to be a shrewd investment and a highlight of the collection.
University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull.

Humber Street Gallery

Not so dull Hull

'Dead Bod', curtesy Humber Street Gallery / credit: Thomas Arran
Advertising itself as the 'Heart and Soul' of Hull, Humber Street is a hip, new redevelopment by the riverside. Visiting is like stepping into a suburb of Amsterdam or Berlin. Abandoned warehouses have been converted into bars and restaurants, pop-up boutiques and trendy hair salons. The pedestrianised streets are filled with ping-pong tables and bearded blokes sipping artisan coffee. It's the perfect balance between European cool and down-to-earth Yorkshire – almost pretentious, but not quite. It's here you'll find the Humber Street Gallery, a three-floor white cube gallery space with a great rooftop bar overlooking the city. The gallery has a superb exhibitions programme, but the main attraction is its 'Dead Bod' installation. This spray-painted picture of an oversized dead bird is a well-loved piece of Hull's Maritime history – it was saved from demolition during the regeneration of the site thanks to a huge public campaign and now takes pride of place at the entrance of the space – be sure to read the story accompanying it.
64 Humber St, Hull.

What I Want More than Anything Else

Mark Titchner has collaborated with young people from Hull and nearby Burnley and Wigan for a poignant public art project at Hull Library. Titchner asked the young people, 'what is it that you want more than anything else?' and transformed their responses into large-scale banners and vibrant murals that shout out to visitors, to altogether quieter pieces; bookmarks hidden inside the library's collection and sound works that whisper to passers-by. The words are so heartfelt, 'I want to have my dad back' reads a banner in the library's central space, another is full of optimism – 'Equality for All' it reads, in bold colours and swirling letters. People have started to leave their own messages around the library in response, 'I want more cats' reads one painted sign propped up on top of a bookshelf. It's unclear whether this was planned, but in the quiet aisles of the library Titchner has started a fascinating conversation for us to eavesdrop on.
Until Sun 31 Dec, Hull Central Library, Albion Street HU1 3TF, free.

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