New £35m Hepworth galleryopens its doors

Barbara Hepworth with one of her huge sculptures.
Barbara Hepworth with one of her huge sculptures.

A BRAND new art gallery – one of the largest outside London – opens its doors to the public for the first time in Wakefield on Saturday (May 21).

The £35 million Hepworth Wakefield is dedicated to one of the UK’s most celebrated artists, Dame Barbara Hepworth, who died in 1975.

The gallery, built in the heart of her home city, will house a unique collection of more than 40 of her works.

Designed by David Chipperfield architects, the 5,000 sqm venue has 10 gallery spaces, celebrating the area’s unique artistic legacy and exploring the work of major contemporary artists. It also includes an auditorium, learning studios, garden, café and shop, completed by stunning views over the River Calder.

The gallery will celebrate its opening with a host of events including community performances, family activities and the exhibition of the major contemporary artist, Eva Rothschild.

Included in the exhibitions are works drawn from the 6,000-strong collection of the former Wakefield Art Gallery, including early work by Hepworth and her contemporaries, John Pier and Henry Moore and Lucie.

The opening contemporary show features Dublin-born sculptor Rothschild. As well as minimalist, metal standing pieces, it includes mosaic, woven and new photographic works.

The inaugural day on Saturday runs from 11am-8pm, with live music and performances throughout the day.

There will also be artwork activities for youngsters and a free tasting session of ‘Masterpiece’, The Hepworth Wakefield’s limited edition ale, brewed by Ossett Brewery to commemorate the opening of the gallery.

The Hepworth Wakefield, is on Gallery Walk, Wakefield, WF1 5AW.