Join in Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s wonderful birthday weekend

The West Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be celebrating its 40th birthday this weekend.
The West Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be celebrating its 40th birthday this weekend.

Prepare to celebrate a Weekend of Wonderful Things at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this weekend, as it celebrates its 40th birthday.

Events will run from dusk until dawn this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when visitors will be able to encounter everything that is wonderful about the park, with a range of special events and experiences. Enjoy art from all angles with plenty of space to breathe in the park’s stunning 500-acre landscape, complemented by delicious food and drink.

The seeds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park were planted in 1977 when Peter Murray, a lecturer in art education at the time at Bretton Hall, installed a sculpture exhibition in the grounds of the college.

The idea to establish a permanent sculpture park rapidly took hold, and - in September that year - Yorkshire Sculpture Park opened, with a £1,000 grant from Yorkshire Arts.

Today YSP aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight the 500,000 visitors it welcomes each year, including 48,000 annual learning visits.

The Weekend of Wonderful Things is a great opportunity to see some of YSP’s exhibitions out of hours, with most experiences suitable for children of all ages.

Experience mind-boggling sculptures made from dice, glass, stainless steel and bronze, examine superstition and folklore-inspired prints, and don’t miss the beautiful new seven-metre-high cast iron head, by Jaume Plensa, which overlooks the lake.

There’s plenty of fun to be had on Friday, from 7pm–8.30pm, with an After Hours Art Adventure, when children aged five and over will be able to join their families to embark on a top-secret mission, searching for clues and uncovering mysteries in this outdoor storytelling adventure.

From 8pm, try a spot of stargazing with West Yorkshire Astronomical Society as they explore the skies above YSP. As the sun sets, get a glimpse of Mercury and Venus, and in the dusk, use telescopes to find Jupiter and explore the constellations above. On Saturday, join in a ‘Rest is Radical’ workshop, with a chance to escape from the stresses of everyday life with a few mindful minutes of relaxation in woodland hammocks. At 4.30am–6am, early risers and their parents can experience the changing light followed by a delicious breakfast.

At 10.30am, try a little paddling around the park as you join in a barefoot walk. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Hidden Forest, between 10.30am and 4pm Saturday and Sunday, where little ones can jump, laugh, sing, and play together beneath the trees in this magical space.

From 11am, performers from the Magick Lounge Club will be popping up across the park to amaze and delight you with some magical performances. Between 11am and 3pm, there will be a vibrant carnival parade, and, also from 11am both days, the ARTCart will be rolling in, with plenty of family art making.

Mums and dads might enjoy afternoon tea from 2pm, including aguided walk and talk exploring the woodlands, and fom 2.30pm, families are invited to find a Secret Silent Disco within the grounds.

Once there, pick your channel to choose a playlist and dance the afternoon away in the open air. Suitable for all.

On Saturday evening, there will be more stargazing and some Sound Bath Meditation, as well as a sunset walk of the sculptures.

Sunday will be much more of the same, as well as the chance to meet Monkey, Rabbit, Ox and friends for an animal escapade where you can try out all your animal voices.

Visit www.ysp.co.uk for full details.