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Artistic Renaissance in Wakefield
The workaday West Yorkshire town of Wakefield, 12 mi south of Leeds off M1, seems an unlikely arts center. Once bustling because of the coal and textile industries, the downtown feels worn around the edges today. Lately, thanks to art, Wakefield is having a renaissance of sorts. You can get here easily from Leeds by train or car.
Hepworth Wakefield. Opened in 2011, this gallery focuses on 20th century British art, notably sculptors (and Wakefield area natives) Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, with important works by both. The unique design of slightly skewed concrete building blocks, combined with the powerful permanent collection and exhibitions devoted to contemporary artists, has attracted interest from art lovers around the world. It's the largest purpose-built British gallery outside of London. Gallery Walk, Wakefield, WF1 5AW. 01924/247360. www.hepworthwakefield.org. Free. Tues.-Sun. 10-5.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park. On the edge of Wakefield, this outdoor gallery sprawls across more than 500 acres of an 18th-century estate. The park and garden are filled with a carefully curated collection including works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, as well other respected artists such as Antony Gormley, Anthony Caro, and David Nash. Changing exhibitions round out the displays. West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG. 01924/832631. www.ysp.co.uk. Free. Galleries daily 10-5; grounds Mar.-Oct. daily 10-6, Nov.-Feb. daily 10-5:30.
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