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New cover for historic Watermill on The Hepworth Wakefield site

06 Jun 2019

A nineteenth century watermill, situated next to the river Calder opposite The Hepworth Wakefield, is to be protected with a new building cover designed by artist Dawn Woolley and community groups from across the district.

Commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield and funded by Wakefield Council, the artwork has been designed and produced to continue preserving the historic listed watermill.

Yorkshire-based artist Dawn Woolley, who is currently working as an engagement artist with Yorkshire Sculpture International (the largest festival to celebrate sculpture in the UK), was selected by the gallery and Wakefield Council for a standout proposal that took into consideration the merging of historical context, environment and nature. A particular focus was on the development of the wider site, including The Hepworth Wakefield Garden.

The design was developed using work produced in workshops with community groups in Wakefield, including The Hepworth Wakefield’s Art Social programme and groups from Wakefield Adult and Community Education Service. During these workshops the participants worked to create a series of sculptures made out of recyclable materials responding to the site that were then photographed and creatively arranged onto the wrap by Dawn Woolley.

Rachel Craddock, Communities Manager said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to commission and work with an artist from the Yorkshire region. It also allows us to showcase on a huge scale some of the art work created by diverse mix of participants from across Wakefield. Whilst the area around The Hepworth Wakefield is being developed and bringing new life to this side of the Calder, it is important to acknowledge and preserve the industrial heritage that Wakefield waterfront is steeped in. This project is an excellent opportunity to merge the old with the new. We are extremely grateful to Wakefield Council for providing the funds to allow Dawn to create a cover that is inspiring and lets the creativity of Wakefield be seen”


Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration at Wakefield Council, said: “The specially designed building wraps have proven to be an effective method of ensuring the continuing preservation of this important listed building. This new cover will not only continue to protect the watermill but with the addition of this thoughtful and imaginative design, created in part by local communities, will make a positive contribution to the conservation area. It also reinforces the aims of Yorkshire Sculpture International of supporting local artists and connecting our community with the incredible artistic heritage of Wakefield”.