The Hepworth Wakefield has been chosen as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. The £100,000 prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious prize for museums, rewarding the museum that has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and creativity in all areas of the business.
“The Hepworth Wakefield has been a powerful force of energy from the moment it opened,” said Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund. “The building has proved a perfect stage – both for its collections and a breathtaking sequence of special exhibitions. The Hepworth serves its local community and contributes to regional tourism too… It’s the museum everyone would dream of having on their doorstep.”
2016 was an exceptional year for the gallery, with 21% growth in visits on the previous year. Major exhibitions included The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and retrospectives of both Martin Parr and Stanley Spencer and a newly commissioned installation by Anthea Hamilton. Plans to build on the success of 2016 include transforming the wider site, by creating a beautifully landscaped garden by leading garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith. It will be one of the largest free public gardens in the UK and will enhance the gallery’s riverside setting, enabling The Hepworth to further broaden the programme. An ambitious future collaboration with partners in the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – will be announced soon, as will an exciting new initiative to continue to grow the collection.