COLUMN: The best museum is right on your doorstep

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What an exciting time for the gallery and Wakefield as we have just been announced the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2017.

This makes Wakefield the only city outside of London to have two Museum of the Year winners (the Yorkshire Sculpture Park won it in 2014).

I am passionate about bringing people to art and into art galleries. I moved to Wakefield after nine years studying and working in London for places like The National Gallery.

I am particularly motivated to ensure excellent art experiences for people outside of London. One of the things I’m working on at the moment is expanding our work outside the gallery.

Together with one of our nearest communities we have devised Portobello Plays, which will see local children and families working with us to create a piece of sculpture that can be played on.

To deliver this, we have been visiting Sandal Castle Primary School with Sheffield artist Natalie Finnemore and working with all 90 Year 6 students to experiment with group sculpture making, print making and creating paper sculptures. A final play sculpture will be revealed at the gallery on Wednesday, August 2 for National Play Day. After that, it will reside in Portobello during August as part of Soul Portobello.

Whatever the weather we will be outside on National Play Day for an adventurous day of making, creating, and of course, playing.

Artists will help you transform our outside space into a creative playground by building dens, climbing soft structures, and messy play. We’ll also be running printmaking workshops and creative activities. No booking required, just turn up and play.

The Hepworth is open seven days a week throughout the summer, with lots of free family events available for you to get involved in. Our new in-gallery art and craft materials have been made in consultation with local families with autistic children. Come to the gallery, get creative, and feel proud to have two of the best museums in the country on your doorstep.