The story of the Hepworth Wakefield will be told at our Arts and Cities Forum at RIBA on 25th January 2018.
Simon Wallis, OBE, who has been Director of the art gallery since 2008, previously Director at The Chisenhale Gallery, London and before that Curator at Tate Liverpool and Kettle's Yard in Cambridge, will be speaking in our discussions about the economic and social well being that art galleries and museums can have on towns and cities. In 2013, the Hepworth Wakefield won the Core Learning Award for its innovative learning programme and this year was named the Art Fund Museum of the Year.
It was in 1996 that Wakefield Council started to promote the benefits of investing in a new purpose-built art gallery which would act as a catalyst for wider regeneration, attracting tourism and inward investment and increasing local pride.
The original gallery was established in 1934, soon becoming one of the most forward thinking galleries of its time supporting artists Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore early in their careers. Gifts from local industrialists enabled the formation of a collection with some of the most significant and avant-garde British artists of the 20th century.
The Hepworth Wakefield opened in 2011, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, providing a legacy for Barbara Hepworth in the town where she was born. The donation of The Hepworth Family Gift by her daughters Rachel Kidd and Sarah Bowness via the Art Fund was integral to the development of the new gallery. The gallery's current vision is still to support contemporary artists and develop the collection for future generations.
The gallery's waterfront is the River Calder from which it is able to source most of its heating and cooling from the river's flow. There are views towards Wakefield Cathedral and the Emley Moor Transmitting Station tower - the tallest freestanding structure in the UK.