THE EYES of the world will be on the city as the Hepworth gallery opens tomorrow.
More than 10,000 people are expected to visit the £35m gallery, named after and inspired by Wakefield-born sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth.
It has been ten years in the planning, and the launch – the only major gallery opening of the year – has attracted international attention.
Hepworth director Simon Wallis said: “This is truly the beginning. It’s going to be a fabulous moment to open the doors to the public.”
Council leader Peter Box said he sees the gallery as the jewel in Wakefield Council’s regeneration crown, and it is hoped the gallery will rejuvenate the Waterfront area by attracting 146,000 visitors a year.
Coun Box said: “We’re seen as a mining community but we’ve got the two most significant sculptors of the 20th century, Hepworth and Henry Moore from the district. This is a very proud day and I can’t tell you how proud I am of Wakefield.”
The weekend will see outdoor performances by artists Heather and Ivan Morison, Andrew Singleton and Richard Sweeney, performances by Yew Tree Youth Theatre, Opera North and many more.
With large crowds expected, pre-booking for a timed entry system has been in place. This has now closed, but visitors can queue for a wristband for a timed slot from 10.30am on Saturday and Sunday.
The Hepworth car parks will not be open, but a free park and ride shuttle bus will run from Mulberry Way, next to Westgate Station and Westmorland Street. Parking at Merchant Gate costs up to £5 per day. A free shuttle bus between The Hepworth and Yorkshire Sculpture Park will also be in place.
For more information and opening hours visit www. hepworthwakefield.org
See p38 and 39 for more.