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Major milestone for The Hepworth Wakefield

  • Date: 16 March 2010
  • Area: North
The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield.

A major milestone has been reached in the development of Wakefield's new world-class art gallery.

All major construction work on The Hepworth Wakefield has been completed. To mark this milestone, developers handed over the keys to the building to gallery staff at a recent special event. 

The Hepworth Wakefield, which is due to open in spring 2011, will be the largest purpose-built gallery in England outside of London.

Arts Council England, Yorkshire is providing £5 million of investment through the National Lottery towards its development. 

Along with Wakefield's nationally important art collection, spanning the 16th century to the present day, a key highlight will be a previously unseen collection of 30 sculptures by the celebrated Wakefield-born artist after which the gallery is named, Barbara Hepworth.

The Hepworth Wakefield will also bring major art exhibitions to Yorkshire by some of the world's leading contemporary artists.

Now that all major construction has been completed work will begin on fitting out the interior spaces of the building.

As well as 1,600 square metres of purpose-built gallery space, The Hepworth Wakefield will provide state of the art visitor facilities including a new café and restaurant overlooking the River Calder, a £2 million learning centre offering a varied programme of workshops, and a 100-seat auditorium where visitors can enjoy talks, lectures, performances, film-screenings and concerts. The gallery has been designed by David Chipperfield architects and built by Laing O'Rourke.

Simon Wallis, Director, The Hepworth Wakefield, said: 'This is another major milestone as we now prepare our opening collection displays, exhibitions and education programme.  David Chipperfield has created an inspirational building for the city and region through his use of form and light. We look forward to the public bringing the whole project to life when we open.'

Jennifer Hallam, Visual Arts Officer, Arts Council England, Yorkshire, added: 'The opening of The Hepworth Wakefield will further raise the increasing national and international profile of the Yorkshire region as a centre for the presentation and understanding of sculpture. It will join the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), Leeds City Art Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and the Arts Council Sculpture Collection at Longside at YSP, among others, in bringing a growing range of opportunities to enjoy and participate in the visual arts to people across the region.'

Wakefield Council is leading the development of The Hepworth Wakefield with co-funding partners Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, the Homes and Communities Agency, Yorkshire Forward and the European Union.

For more information visit The Hepworth Wakefield