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The Hepworth Wakefield appoints new Director of Collection and Exhibitions

27 Jul 2022

The Hepworth Wakefield has appointed Laura Smith as its new Director of Collection and Exhibitions, following the departure of Chief Curator, Andrew Bonacina. In this new role, Smith will lead the strategic development of Wakefield’s art collection and future exhibition programme.

Smith is currently Curator at Whitechapel Gallery where she has been employed for nearly five years. Smith will start working with The Hepworth Wakefield in autumn 2022 and will continue to work with Whitechapel as lead curator for a major exhibition opening in February 2023.

Before joining Whitechapel, Smith held curatorial roles at Tate Britain, Tate St Ives and Nottingham Contemporary. Smith is also a Trustee at IntoArt, which supports people with learning disabilities to be recognised as established artists.

Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Laura Smith to The Hepworth Wakefield team to help us shape our future exhibition programme and strategically develop Wakefield’s growing art collection. Laura has a wealth of valuable experience to bring to this key role at The Hepworth. She has a strong track record of working with contemporary artists and collections to create inspiring projects that offer valuable experiences for artists and diverse audiences. Her passion for connecting with local residents, making art intelligently accessible and reaching new audiences is an ideal fit with our mission and values. I’d like to thank Andrew Bonacina for his hard work and dedication over the last eight years as our Chief Curator. He has been instrumental in securing outstanding works of art for the collection, identifying new artistic talent and bringing to Yorkshire many internationally important artists, introducing our audiences to some of the most exciting art being made today. We wish him every success with his future projects.”

On being appointed, Laura Smith said:

“I have long admired The Hepworth Wakefield and its programme. Having worked as a curator for over 10 years I am thrilled to now move on to this senior role as Director of Collection and Exhibitions at one of the most successful and exciting galleries in the country. I look forward to working closely with the team to continue building The Hepworth Wakefield’s outstanding reputation. Having grown up in Yorkshire, I am also delighted to return to my home county.”