Ambitious plans have been unveiled to make Yorkshire the sculpture capital of Europe.
This major new project is spearheaded by the Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park
With support from the Arts Council England and Welcome to Yorkshire, the four galleries will work together to create a unique offering for visitors.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle will build on the county's unique sculpture heritage as the birthplace of two of the most important 20th Century sculptors, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
It will encourage visitors to see sculpture at four outstanding venues which all offer free entry to world-class exhibitions and are visited by more than 1 million art lovers every year.
The project will also provide a boost to the tourism economy by signposting visitors to the great local hotels and impressive nearby restaurants dotted around the attractions.
Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: The Arts Council has invested significantly in several of the organisations involved in the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle and Im delighted that we can support a project which will attract further investment and visitors to Yorkshire. It is a great example of how partnership working can help more people to become familiar with Yorkshire's pre-eminence in modern sculpture.
Following the opening of The Hepworth Wakefield in 2011 the county now has four major sculpture venues all within a few miles of each other.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the first of its kind in the UK and the biggest in Europe, opened in 1977 and is now one of the UKs premier art attractions. The park has continued to be popular since its creation; 2011 proved to be the best year in the sculpture parks history with 350,000 visitors passing through its doors.
The Leeds Art Gallery has been a much loved cultural highlight in the heart of the city for over a century, with visitor figures now pushing half a million a year. The gallerys fabulous art collection is designated by the Government as being of national and international importance and it is particularly strong in the area of twentieth century sculpture including works by Moore, Hepworth and Gormley.
Linked to Leeds Art Gallery by a glass bridge, the Henry Moore Institute is not only an impressive art gallery but maintains a reputation as a world-leading centre for the study of sculpture. It is part of The Henry Moore Foundation, which was set up by the artist in 1977 and is now one of the UK's leading arts charities. Hosting temporary exhibitions ranging from ancient to contemporary sculpture, the Institute also has a unique sculpture library which is open to members of the public and scholars alike.
The newly opened The Hepworth Wakefield is named after one of the citys most famous former residents, artist Barbara Hepworth. Opened in early 2011 as the largest new gallery outside London, the initial target of 150,000 visitors in the first year of operation was smashed when this many people visited in the first few weeks. By the end of the year over half a million people had passed through its doors, three times the number expected, putting it firmly in the top 3 most visited galleries in Britain.
Gary Verity chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire believes the secret will be to not only showcase the cultural attractions but to also signpost visitors to the terrific selection of hotels, bars and restaurants surrounding them.
He said: We will be highlighting how to get to Yorkshire, how to travel from gallery to gallery as well as signposting visitors towards the great places to stay and impressive places to eat. We will make it easy for those tempted, to come to Yorkshire and see some of the best sculpture in the world.
There will be an impressive programme for 2013 including; The Henry Moore Institute which will exhibit sculptures by Dennis Oppenheim featuring fireworks and flares. Leeds Art Gallery will be home to the prestigious Northern Art Prize, Yorkshire Sculpture Park will host the biggest UK exhibition to date by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE and The Hepworth Wakefield will present the UK premier of a dynamic new performance piece by artist Linder Sterling. It will include collaborations with Northern Ballet, British fashion designer Pam Hogg, and musician Stuart McCallum.
A major TV and high-profile marketing campaign will promote the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle with new brochures and a website to attract visitors and spread the word.