INTER_CHANGE 23/24 Field Trip: Hull

INTER_CHANGE artist Maria Donnai walks us through a sunny day out visiting art spaces in Hull on 23 February 2024.

What a beautiful day for our tour of art spaces in our home city of Hull. The sunshine was glorious and we were all in good spirits when we met at Humber Street Gallery to start our adventures.

We had a quick chat and caught up on each other’s news before heading across the road to Studio Eleven where Adele Howitt showed us around the ceramic and print studio. It was interesting to hear how the studio has evolved as Humber Street has developed and to discover opportunities to rent a bench or attend workshops in both ceramics and printmaking.

From here we walked along the marina and crossed the pedestrian bridge into the lovely Hepworth Arcade to see Sunk, an exhibition by Matt Fratson, curated by Creel. Personally, I loved the use of the empty shop front and came away feeling inspired to consider a venue like this for my own work.

We then met up with Thomas Robinson and Sara Pennington, local artists who run HARI (Hull Artists Research Initiative). They explained that HARI is a non-profit organisation that aims to support artists by providing a space to research and experiment. How great to be able to make a mess, try out new ideas and generally play with the support of a team that encourages this stage of creativity without the pressure to produce a finished “thing”.

Next stop was Hull Central Library, which hosts MAKERSPACE. Whilst some of the INTER-CHANGErs already use this space, it was a good reminder of the huge number of different tools that are available to use here. Ideal if you want to make something that requires a specific machine. Laser cutting, 3D printing, vinyl cutting, spray painting and screen printing are just some of the toys available. It was reassuring to learn that the staff there will show you how to use any equipment and you don’t need previous experience to be able to get stuck in.

By now we were starving and welcomed a lunch break at Marla’s on Princes Avenue. Rarebit seemed to be the general favourite followed by enormous portions of cake. Sitting outside in the sunshine enjoying good company and good food was one of those perfect moments. The INTER_CHANGE program provides practical skills and knowledge, but the companionship and support of the group is an added bonus.

Feeling rather full, we waddled down to Artlink at 87 Gallery to look at the current exhibition, What We Do. Here, we learned about the different organisations that the gallery works with and how the gallery is staffed and run. We also managed to fit in more tea, coffee and biscuits – although the healthier option of strawberries was appreciated!

Thanks to all who took the time to talk to us and show us around their spaces. Often you don’t appreciate your home town and it is easy to overlook the opportunities, facilities and people that are right on your doorstep. A great day.