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Launch date of The Hepworth Wakefield is announced

  • Date: 4 February 2011
  • Area: North

The Hepworth Wakefield, a new world-class gallery in Yorkshire, will open its doors to the public on Saturday 21 May 2011.

The new arts space, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, will house over 40 works by the gallery's namesake: Wakefield-born artist Barbara Hepworth. This unique collection, gifted by the Hepworth Estate, will celebrate the legacy of the renowned sculptor.

Arts Council England has invested £5 million from the National Lottery in the gallery, which joins Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Institute and Leeds City Art Gallery, to secure Yorkshire's reputation as a leading destination for sculpture. Along with Wakefield's nationally-important art collection, The Hepworth Wakefield will run an ambitious programme of contemporary exhibitions - the first featuring the work of sculptor Eva Rothschild, and activities and events including artist commissions and talks.

Simon Wallis, Director, said: 'The Hepworth Wakefield is a world-class building designed by one of this country's greatest leading architects, and is a fitting home for Wakefield's long-held ambition to be recognised as the birthplace of Barbara Hepworth. I believe that when The Hepworth Wakefield opens in May, as a major new centre for the visual arts, it will be seen as a visionary investment in the community and the cultural life of this country.'

The new £35 million Hepworth Wakefield, which houses 10 gallery spaces, learning studios, an auditorium, an archive and restaurant, café and shop, is part of the £100 million regeneration of Waterfront Wakefield.

Wakefield Council has led the development of gallery with co-funding partners Arts Council England, with major funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Forward, Homes and Communities Agency, and the European Regional Development Fund.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: 'We are delighted to be a major investor in The Hepworth Wakefield, supporting the project with £5 million funding through the National Lottery. The opening of this world-class centre for the visual arts will be one of the cultural highlights of 2011 and will cement the increasing national and international profile of Yorkshire as a centre for the presentation and understanding of sculpture.

'It has fantastic potential to contribute to our ambition of achieving great art for everyone, and will inspire visitors from far and wide, as well as providing new creative opportunities for communities in Wakefield and beyond. We look forward to the launch in May and the culmination of all the work that has gone into its development, as well as our continued work with The Hepworth Wakefield and Wakefield Council.'

Find out more about The Hepworth Wakefield.