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Plans for Museum of the Year 2017 prize money announced

The £100,000 will go towards acquiring a new sculpture and the development of The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden.

Today The Hepworth Wakefield announces that it will use its £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 prize money to acquire a significant contemporary sculpture for Wakefield’s art collection and contribute to the transformation of the wider site immediately around the museum.

Half of the prize money will go towards acquiring a new sculpture by leading contemporary artist Helen Marten, who has an important place in the gallery’s history after winning the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture in 2016. Marten went on to win The Turner Prize in the same year. The success of the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture was an integral part of the Art Fund judges’ decision to award The Hepworth Wakefield Museum of the Year. A new work by Marten will be acquired for the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection – an impressive compendium of modern and contemporary British art – continuing the legacy established by Wakefield in 1923 of collecting works of art by contemporary British artists to document the development of contemporary art practice.

The remainder of the money will contribute towards The Hepworth Wakefield’s ambitious plans to transform a strip of uninspiring land adjacent to the gallery into a beautiful garden by leading designer, Tom Stuart-Smith. Once complete, it will be one of the largest free public gardens in the UK, creating a major new visitor attraction for Wakefield and providing vital green space in the heart of the city for local residents to enjoy.

The Hepworth Wakefield was awarded the prestigious title in 2017 for their year of inspiring exhibitions, a large increase in visitors and the creation of The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.

The new work by Helen Marten will be unveiled at The Hepworth Wakefield in 2019.

‘Careful consideration has gone into deciding how we spend the hard-won Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 prize money as we wanted to ensure it was spent for the long-term benefit of Wakefield and our local communities. By dividing it between strategically growing our collection and investing in our capital plans to further animate our wider site we have struck the ideal balance.’

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield