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The Hepworth Wakefield Celebrates its 5th Birthday

23 May 2016


More than 7,000 visitors enjoyed five parties across two days as Yorkshire’s major gallery The Hepworth Wakefield celebrated its 5th anniversary.

A 17-hour spectacular programme during the weekend, 21-22 May marked the milestone in collaboration with a diverse range of Yorkshire and Wakefield-based arts organisations who have worked with the award-winning gallery during the last five years.

The gallery’s biggest Baby Rave began proceedings on Saturday 21 May, followed by afternoon performances create an immersive arts experience of visual arts, dance and song in the award-winning gallery spaces.

In honour of the riverside gallery’s resident heron and mascot (affectionately known as ‘Patrick the heron’), Faceless Arts brought their giant heron puppet to the family picnic on Sunday 22 May. Former BBC Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn presented her special bake to the crowds, featuring a giant number 5 with sugar candle and a hand-piped dark chocolate sketch of David Chipperfield’s first drawing of the gallery.

The gallery has attracted over 1.5m visitors and contributed over £20m into the local economy since it opened in May 2011. The Hepworth Wakefield has attracted £7 million worth of art to Wakefield’s Permanent Art Collection through acquisitions and gifts from individuals and trusts, fromThe Hepworth Family Gift to the recent Tim Sayer Bequest, one of the UK’s largest bequests in recent years and one of the most significant gifts to Wakefield by a private collector.

Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “I am very proud that Wakefield is home to The Hepworth. There is no doubt that that the city and wider area benefit from its success as well as giving local people the opportunity to enjoy one of the finest contemporary art museums in Europe, right on their doorstep. What has been achieved since 2011 is not just a world-renowned art gallery but a catalyst for creating culture-led regeneration. The reputation and success of The Hepworth Wakefield was fundamental in attracting the developer for the Rutland Mills complex, which is now set to become the creative hub of the North.”

David Liddiment, Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield Trust since 2010 said: “As a local lad from Huddersfield I’m immensely proud of what has been achieved at the gallery.  The enthusiasm and dedication by Simon and his team have helped the gallery to exceed all initial expectations and establish Wakefield as a cultural destination, putting it firmly on the national and international map. The success of the gallery is evident in the numerous repeat visitors and the excellent satisfaction rating from our visitors which have helped us to reach the 1.5 million visitor milestone.  It’s great to see visitors travelling from all parts of the UK and further afield to see the gallery, I recall that our 1 millionth visitor was from Australia!”

Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “It’s been an amazing five years and I’m very proud of what the staff and volunteers have all worked so consistently to achieve. We’re on the cusp of significantly building on that success with our forthcoming exhibitions and plans for the wider site that are now coming to hard-earned fruition with a developer now secured for the Rutland Mills complex opposite the gallery.  I look forward to the forthcoming 5th anniversary programme which continues with our Stanley Spencer exhibition, the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and further announcements on the Hepworth Riverside Garden.“

Frances Quinn, former winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off Winner said: “It was wonderful to be back at the gallery again, I enjoyed meeting the team when I baked for the 1 millionth visitor and it’s great to be here to help celebrate this milestone occasion.”

A special programme of exhibitions and projects to commemorate The Hepworth Wakefield’s 5th anniversary opened earlier in the year with The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories: Photographs by Martin Parr (until 12 June) and continues with Stanley Spencer: Of Angels and Dirt, the first major survey in 15 years of the work of one of Britain’s best loved painters, which opens on Friday June 24.  Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton will be exhibiting from September when the artist will ‘remix’ the Kettle’s Yard collection with some of her own contemporary art works and an exhibition of the four shortlisted artists in the £30,000 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture award will be on show from in the gallery from 22 October.

Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “It’s been an amazing five years and I’m very proud of what the staff and volunteers have all worked so consistently to achieve”