Hepworth Wakefield Officially Opened By Countess of Wessex
Sophie Wessex Puts The Royal Seal On Popular New Art Gallery 10 Months On
HRH Sophie Rhys-Jones, The Countess of Wessex will officially open Yorkshire’s award-winning new art gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield Tuesday 27th March. The visit is an honour for the gallery, which has proved to be an overwhelming success since it opened 10 months ago, welcoming over 435,000 visitors, far exceeding the initial first year target of 150,000 visitors, to make The Hepworth Wakefield one of the most visited galleries in England.
Her Royal Highness will be met by several dignitaries from across Wakefield District, before joining Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council; Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield and for a tour of the award-winning building by David Chipperfield Architects, the collection displays and the recently opened contemporary exhibitions by Heather & Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe.
Her Royal Highness will also tour the gallery’s Learning Studios and meet local school children who have been participating in creative projects and activities with the gallery, joining David Liddiment, Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield Trust and architect David Chipperfield for afternoon tea, which offers the chance to meet supporters and staff from the gallery. The visit will conclude with HRH The Countess of Wessex unveiling a plaque in the gallery to officially commemorate the opening of The Hepworth Wakefield.
Members of the public are invited to join in the celebrations and greet Her Royal Highness when she arrives at the gallery at 3.30pm. The galleries will be open to the public as usual and visitors will be able to observe proceedings with Her Royal Highness’ during her visit. Please note that the usual photography permissions within the galleries will apply. The official unveiling of the commemorative plaque will take place at 4.30pm in the gallery foyer.
Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness to the Hepworth Wakefield which has achieved so much in such a short space of time. This journey started with a visit from Prince Charles a decade ago and it is fitting that the official opening ceremony has a royal seal of approval.”
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “We’re very much looking forward to welcoming HRH Countess of Wessex and to officially celebrate and commemorate the opening of this world-class gallery in Yorkshire. The visit offers a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our world-class collection and gallery spaces, the recently opened exhibitions by Heather & Ivan Morison and reaffirm The Hepworth Wakefield’s campaign to become the art museum of the year for the Art Fund Prize 2012.”
Artist Anthony Gormley said: “The Hepworth Wakefield will become a place of pilgrimage for all lovers of sculpture and, with the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Yorkshire will be a place of inspiration for all.”
Actress Katherine Kelly (formerly Becky in ITV’s Coronation Street) said: “It is tremendous that Wakefield is home to such a major new gallery. Wakefield is a city I hold dear to my heart as I was schooled there in my teenage years. I only wish THW had been around when I was studying A-level art!”
Director of Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota said: “The Hepworth Wakefield is one of the most exciting and beautiful galleries in the United Kingdom. I think The Hepworth is a wonderful building and it offers a wonderful day out for people to come and experience Wakefield in a new way.”
The gallery is the only nomination in the North of England to be longlisted for the coveted Art Fund Prize 2012, which celebrates the best museums and art galleries in the country. Members of the public are encouraged to support the gallery by voting online and ‘Have Their Say’ about why The Hepworth Wakefield should win the Art Fund Prize. Although the winner is not decided on the public vote alone, the more public support, the stronger the case to be shortlisted. For more details and to support the gallery visit www.artfundprize.org.uk