Yorkshire gallery is giving London a run for its money

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It ‘s been an epic year for The Hepworth, Wakefield. Director Simon Wallis reflects on its successes in 2013 and looks forward to 2014.

It’s been an energetic and successful year for the gallery.

It is a timely moment to reflect on the last 12 months. One of the high points was winning the prestigious Clore Award for Learning at the Museum of the Year Awards. It acknowledges the quality of our work inspiring families, children and young people in the region. We have developed partnerships to ensure our learning programme is a vital and highly valued part of our work.

It’s wonderful that we are so well used as an educational resource. The importance of working in partnership has become ever more pressing in today’s financial climate.

In Yorkshire we’re blessed with inspiring neighbours who have come together to create the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle: ourselves, The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

We work closely together to build audiences for art as a significant part of the region’s tourism economy. The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is putting our region on the international map as one of the world’s most important places to see and experience sculpture. It’s no surprise given Yorkshire produced Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

The New York Times recently announced: “Leeds, Wakefield and the Sculpture Park offer an unparalleled conspectus of modern and contemporary sculpture throughout the year. Yorkshire has reaffirmed its position on the global arts map.”

The Times included The Hepworth Wakefield in their “Top 50 greatest galleries in the world” list and influential Travel Guide company, The Lonely Planet, described The Hepworth Wakefield as “a new state-of-the-art gallery giving London a run for its money”, highlighting it as one of the three things that makes Yorkshire the third best region in the world to visit in 2014.

All this, of course, stems from the inspiring art we exhibit. Our collection, which is always on show, features some of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

There have been many highlights over the past 
year and 2014 sees The Hepworth Wakefield stage two of its most ambitious exhibitions to date. In February we host the UK’s first retrospective of work by major American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia, followed in June by a major exhibition of the work of Austrian sculptor Franz West, one of the pivotal figures in post war contemporary art. Yorkshire-born sculptor Henry Moore and the role of public art will be celebrated in the gallery’s new outdoor commission to open in early summer.

And, of course, the gallery will be participating creatively in Le Grand Depart and World War I centenary commemorations. The gallery is free to visit and is open throughout the festive season, closing only on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. So if you’ve not been yet, what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time to visit.

Simon Wallis’s 2013 highlights

THERE have been many highlights over the past year.

A triple bill of contemporary art by Alice Channer, Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Linder opened this year’s exhibition programme and culminated in May with the premiere of Linder’s performance The Ultimate Form, featuring superb choreography by Northern Ballet. A light and sound installation by one of the UK’s most acclaimed young artists, Haroon Mirza, and a major retrospective of work by Barbara Hepworth’s contemporary, the painter William Scott, offered a summer programme, complemented by a display of Hepworth’s little known graphic prints.