The Hepworth Wakefield wins Art Fund museum award
The Hepworth Wakefield was chosen from a shortlist of five finalists.
The Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire has won the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year award for 2017.
Judges praised the art gallery and museum for its “unfailing flair” as it won the coveted £100,000 prize at a ceremony at the Great Court at the British Museum.
The award – the largest museum prize in the world – is given annually to one outstanding museum which has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement.
This year’s prize was handed out by Jo Whiley, who was on the judging panel, at a dinner attended by more than 450 guests including artists Mat Collishaw, Edmund de Waal and Richard Deacon.
Whiley said: “Travelling around the country and discovering places that were completely new to me has really opened my eyes to the incredible work that UK museums are doing.
“Any one of the short-listed museums would have been a worthy winner, and the pressure was very much on in making this tough decision, but in the end we all agreed that The Hepworth Wakefield was a worthy winner.”
The Hepworth Wakefield was chosen from a shortlist that also included Lapworth Museum of Geology (Birmingham), National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art (Newmarket), Sir John Soane’s Museum (London) and the Tate Modern (London).
For the first time this year, each of the other finalist museums will receive a £10,000 prize in recognition of their achievements.
Art Fund director and chair of the judges Stephen Deuchar said: “The Hepworth Wakefield was a powerful force of energy from the moment it opened in 2011, but it has just kept growing in reach and impact ever since.”
He said The Hepworth “serves its local community with unfailing flair and dedication and contributes centrally to regional tourism too, bringing 210,275 visitors in 2016, up 21% on the previous year”.
“It’s the museum everyone would dream of having on their doorstep,” Deuchar said.
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, and in the last five years has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections.