World comes to region for new sculpture event

The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds
The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds
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FOUR venues in Yorkshire been awarded funding to stage a new triennial arts event which organisers say will position the region as a world centre for sculpture.

Arts Council England has handed £750,000 to the four organisations, collectively known as the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, to begin work on what it describes as the UK’s first international sculpture project.

The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, the Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park will stage the first event by 2019, at sites across both cities and rural parts of West Yorkshire. The Arts Council says it will include “new outdoor commissions and international partnerships”.

Godfrey Worsdale, director of the Henry Moore Foundation, said it was hoped the event would become a regular fixture in the international art calendar.

He said: “This is about exploiting our assets. The galleries around Leeds and Wakefield are not only Britain’s premier focus for modern and contemporary sculpture, they are arguably a centre for the whole world.

“This project is going to say to the world that this part of Yorkshire is at the very forefront of promoting modern sculpture.”

It would not be the first time the county’s artistic community has seized the global initiative.

The sculptor Henry Moore, who grew up in Castleford and went to art school in Leeds after the First World War, had risen within 15 years to be a part of the international avant-garde that shaped the future of the medium.

Mr Worsdale said: “Because of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and we have generated an incredible dialogue between what’s come out of this region and the whole of the international sculpture community.”

He said the new event would be staged every three years, but added: “Because of the scale and ambition we have, one event will pretty much run into the next.

“Over the coming years and decades it will build into something really important for Yorkshire and for its presence in the international art world.”

The Sculpture Triangle takes its name from the shape produced on a map when the four venues are linked. Two - Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute - are next to each other on The Headrow, so only three points are produced.

Sarah Maxfield, of Arts Council England, said: “Yorkshire has long been celebrated for its wealth of world class sculpture and I’m delighted that we are funding this project.”

Only two other projects, in London and the south west, will benefit from the new funding.