The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
First phase opens summer 2019
We are working with internationally renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith to transform our outdoor site from unused land into a beautiful free public garden. The garden will have a rolling programme of outdoor sculptures, special events and commissions for all to enjoy.
ABOUT THE GARDEN
Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It will echo the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.
Seating, open spaces and step-free paths within the garden reflect how we anticipate the widest possible audience will use and move through the space. We are also restoring the Gatehouse to be used as a catering facility.
A Garden Studio will be created on the north-east corner of the plot as a welcoming hub from which to deliver community engagement and creative learning activities all year round.
‘I prefer my work to be shown outside. I think sculpture grows in the open light and with the movement of the sun its aspect is always changing.’
– Barbara Hepworth
Over the last two years we have raised over £1.6million from a variety of public funding bodies, trusts and foundations and individuals to achieve this ambitious project but still have a little way to go. Your donation, no matter the size, would play an important part in helping us realise one of the largest free public gardens in the UK.
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is made possible through a major fundraising campaign.
This transformational project is costing £1.8m, all of which needs to be fundraised for. Construction of the garden commenced in January 2019, once 80% of the funding target was in place. The first phase – the large central area of the garden will open in summer 2019.
The second phase, expected to be complete in spring 2020, will see the creation of the Garden Studio – an outdoor learning space in which to expand our engagement work with schools, colleges and local community groups. It’s also a place for people to get their hands dirty!
What's in the garden
Over 14,000 herbaceous plants and shrubs, 120 meters of beech hedging and 52 trees will be introduced to the site. Carefully chosen for their colour and architectural form, the plants will change through the seasons creating evolving vistas and year-round interest.
This will vastly improve the biodiversity of the site, offering rich pollen and nectar food sources for a variety of insects and much needed places for birds and insects to shelter, feed and reproduce, creating an oasis in the heart of the city.
Tom said “I am delighted to be selected for this ambitious new project for The Hepworth Wakefield. Public commissions like these are scarce in the UK. I truly believe in the community and health benefits that gardens can bring and I am particularly excited by the socially transformative opportunities of this project. I am looking forward to working with the gallery to create a beautiful public space in this riverside setting that will be treasured by local residents and visitors alike.”
Our Cultural Gardener
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve recently appointed Katy Merrington as our new Cultural Gardener who joined the team in early May. Alongside Tom Stuart-Smith, Katy is working on the planting of the garden and will have responsibility for maintaining it, as well as working with our learning team to devise an exciting outdoor programme.
Katy has worked in some of the best gardens in the UK and USA including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at Logan, Dumfries & Galloway and Longwood Gardens: Pennsylvania, USA. Katy studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and has conducted freelance projects for galleries across Newcastle as well as leading a programme of family and engagement events in a wide range of gardens and art spaces.
Katy is also documenting her work in a monthly diary. This will offer a little glimpse into life in The Hepworth Wakefield. You can read this online diary here.