Four of the six artworks, created by leading British artists, will find their new permanent homes in key locations in the city centre by the end of July. One sculpture, titled ‘Fan Construction’ by Halima Cassell, has already been installed at the Hepworth Garden.
The final sculpture, ‘The Source’ by Ro Robertson, will be installed at The Springs in September, marking the completion of the Wakefield Sculpture Trail.
Councillor Michelle Collins, the Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council, expressed her excitement, stating, “We are so excited that the time has come for four out of the five remaining sculptures on our free art trail are to be installed. The trail will provide residents and visitors with the chance to experience world-class art, up close and personal, in the heart of the city.
She further added, “And not only that, but next week also kicks off the start of our free events and activities, open to all, to welcome our new sculpture trail. Each sculpture will have its own public celebration event, alongside a variety of activities, performances and workshops taking place across the city. There is something for everyone in our sculpture-themed summer celebrations.”
All the artists have strong connections to Wakefield and the local area, and each artist has created a work specifically for the place, considering its history and communities. The following four sculptures will be installed by the end of July:
‘Amazonian Caiman God’ by Jason Wilsher-Mills at Wakefield Cathedral Precinct.
‘Bronze Stack 9 Viridian Green’ by Annie Morris at West Yorkshire History Centre.
‘Gathering’ by Halima Cassell at Wakefield Westgate Station.
‘The Auguries (Last Calls)’ by Andy Holden at Wakefield One.
In August, interpretation signs with more information about each sculpture will be installed at each location. An online version of the trail will also be available to view on the Experience Wakefield website.
The trail became a reality thanks to a £1 million investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), administered by Arts Council England. This funding specifically aimed to create outdoor contemporary sculptures in the city centre. Wakefield Council collaborated with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, drawing upon their expertise in outdoor sculpture, to select the artists for this project.
Helen Pheby, Associate Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, expressed her privilege in being part of this project, saying, “Having grown up in Wakefield and being inspired by the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth – and to be able to work in my home city at Yorkshire Sculpture Park – it’s a great privilege to be a part of this project. For young people to grow up with art in their lives is life-changing.”
The Hepworth Wakefield, in partnership with Wakefield Council, is pleased to announce a program of free activities and events to celebrate the arrival of the sculptures.
The program includes hands-on workshops aimed at connecting people with materials and exploring the process of creating sculptures today. These sessions will take place at various venues across the city centre, including The Hepworth Wakefield and the West Yorkshire History Centre.
Victoria Boome, Head of Learning at The Hepworth Wakefield, said, “Over the summer, we are encouraging everyone to explore the sculptures and take part in free creative activities across the city centre. We are looking forward to working with families, local communities and visitors to Wakefield to create their own playful sculptures, make colourful birds and help us decorate the Love and Hope Boat that is touring the city centre over the summer.”
The Sculpture Trail welcome events are open to the public and will take place on the following dates:
‘Amazonian Caiman God’ by Jason Wilsher-Mills: July 21st, 7:30-8:30 pm at The Cathedral Precinct, followed by The Reel Cinema at the Ridings Shopping Centre. The event will include the world premiere screening of a special film created for the sculpture.
‘The Auguries (Last Calls)’ by Andy Holden: August 9th at Wakefield Library. The event will feature art workshops from 10 am to 4 pm, followed by a talk by the artist from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. A Soundscape created by local artist Tony Wade will also be included.
‘Fan Construction’ by Halima Cassell: August 15th, 11 am – 4 pm at the Hepworth Wakefield. Participants will have the opportunity to meet the artist and engage in playful sculpture activities, along with a special performance by CoActive Arts.
‘Bronze Stack 9 Viridian Green’ by Annie Morris: August 18th at the West Yorkshire History Centre. The day will include art workshops and sculpture making from 10 am to 4 pm, followed by a meet-and-greet with the artists and performances from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Other events include the ‘Love and Hope Boat’ art workshops, inspired by the boat held in the hand of the Amazonian Caiman God, symbolizing the touching love story of Jason Wilsher-Mills’ parents. A retired boat from Pugneys Country Park has been repurposed for this project, and everyone is invited to see the finished boat and climb aboard on Saturday, August 26th, as part of Wakefield’s Grand Day out in Wakefield city centre.
The finale event, ‘The Gathering,’ will take place on September 16th, from 12 pm to 2 pm, in the Cathedral Precinct and surrounding areas. The activities will include art workshops, exhibitions, music, and performances.
For full details of the welcome events, workshops, and performances, please visit the Experience Wakefield website at expwake.co/SculptureTrailEvents.