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New report evidences the positive impact of 10 years of The Hepworth Wakefield

12 Oct 2021

In the decade since The Hepworth Wakefield opened in 2011, it has become one of the most successful public art galleries outside of London, according to a new independent report commissioned to mark the gallery’s 10th birthday.

Key findings of the report

  • For every £1 of revenue funding invested in the The Hepworth Wakefield by Wakefield Council, the gallery generates £9.43 to benefit the district’s economy.
  • The gallery delivers one of the most extensive and high-profile gallery learning and engagement programmes in the country. It has around 40,000 participants each year and provides regular employment for 21 local artists.
  • The Hepworth Wakefield spends over £2.23 million in the local community annually, building community health and helping SMEs grow and survive.
  • It has added £42million worth of art to Wakefield’s collection since 2011 through philanthropy and fundraising, with a focus on representing a more diverse range of artists.
  • It has welcomed 2.5million visitors

“The ambitious team at The Hepworth have achieved so many remarkable things since we opened ten years ago. We can all be hugely proud of what we’ve made happen and of the momentum that keeps building here in terms of artist and community engagement and urban regeneration on our wider site. Creativity is at the heart of all our communities in the Wakefield District. We’re excited to be a proven catalyst for enabling the positive change that culture brings and for being part of creating an inspiring and imaginative future for a district that has suffered far too much socio-economic deprivation over the decades. We’ve been very fortunate to have the steadfast investment of Arts Council England and Wakefield Council, who understand the clear return on investment they get from us in terms of the many outcomes of our learning and exhibition programme, increased tourism, a nationally acclaimed high-profile institution for Wakefield, the well-being agenda, greater civic-pride and aspiration, urban regeneration and the good quality jobs we create. We’ve also benefitted from attracting so many generous trusts, foundations and philanthropic individuals to help us thrive sustainably by investing in the district. Fundamentally it’s the quality and dedication of the artists we’ve worked with who have been key to our success and their generosity has been humbling. I’m delighted this independent report helps clearly demonstrate the ongoing power of culture-led regeneration and The Hepworth’s key role in that.” – Simon Wallis, Director

All statistic are taken from an independent report produced by Counterculture. The full report is available to download here.

In its first 10 years, the achievements include:

  • Winning the Clore Award for Learning in 2013.
  • Winning Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017.
  • Launching The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture in 2016, a £30k prize awarded to the British artist, regardless of age or stage in career, who has had the biggest impact on contemporary sculpture.
  • Working with nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery to launch Yorkshire Sculpture International – the UK’s largest festival of sculpture. Held across Leeds & Wakefield in 2019, the festival attracted over a million people and celebrated the region’s historic connection with sculpture. It continues to  run programmes that support and mentor networks of young artists in the region to help build the local creative economy.
  • Successfully fundraising £1.8 million to transform its outdoor site from scrubland into a beautifully designed public garden by Tom Stuart-Smith. The Hepworth Wakefield Garden was constructed in 2019 and is free for everyone to enjoy.
  • Playing a significant part in attracting a major cultural industries-led developer to transform the Rutland Mills complex opposite the gallery. Tileyard North will create hundreds of new high-quality jobs for Wakefield.
  • Delivering School Prints which works to engage every child in the district with creativity by putting high quality contemporary art by the likes of Sir Peter Blake, Sir Frank Bowling and Anthea Hamilton on the walls of primary schools and running in-depth learning activities, led by artists.
  • Running a highly successful youth programme that supports young people not in education, employment or training, or at risk of offending to transform their lives. Our sessions allow young people to explore their creativity, develop soft skills and find pathways back into education and work.
  • Developing a reputation for giving leading international artists their first major solo show in the UK, including Christina Quarles (2019), Tau Lewis (2019), Lynda Benglis (2015) and Dana Schutz (2013).

The Hepworth’s creative and mentoring residency was profoundly life-altering for me. A year on, I now live alone, pay rent and have been in a full-time job for over nine months. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of The Hepworth.’ – Youth Programme Participant

Recent additions to Wakefield's art collection

Watch our short films celebrating 10 Years of The Hepworth Wakefield