Yorkshire Sculpture Park wins Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014  

By August 15, 2014

Art & Photography. Leeds.

[Image: Courtesy of YSP. Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year Awards Dinner.

L-R: Sam Mendes, Clare Lilley, YSP’s Peter Murray, Grenville Worthington]


It’s certainly a year to be proud if you’re a Yorkshire native. Host to Le Grand Depart for the Tour de France, creator of the first ever Yorkshire Festival, and our very own Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) wins the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014.

On July 9th 2014, the great and good of the museum and art world gathered at the National Gallery to find out who would win the prestigious prize, which was presented by the Oscar-winning film and theatre director, Sam Mendes.

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year was established in 2003 (formally known as the Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries until 2007). It is awarded annually with a value of £100,000 and recognises the very best of the UK’s internationally acclaimed museums. National fundraising charity for art, the Art Fund, has funded the prize from 2008 and run the event since 2013. Previous winners include the William Morris Gallery, London (2013); the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (2012), and the British Museum, London (2011).

This year’s judges – chaired by Art Fund director, Stephen Deuchar – were Sally Bacon, director of the Clore Duffield Foundation; Michael Craig-Martin RA, artist; Wim Pijbes, director of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and Anna Somers Cocks, chief executive of The Art Newspaper.The judges chose YSP out of six remarkable finalists; Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in East Sussex, Hayward Gallery in London, Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, Tate Britain in London and YSP in Yorkshire.



Barbara Hepworth, The Family Man, 1970. Courtesy The Hepworth Estate, Tate and YSP. © Marc Atkins


Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in the world to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell.

During their visit to YSP, the judges were incredibly impressed by YSP, and found it to be a truly outstanding museum with a bold artistic vision, consistently delivered at the highest level. They remarked upon the mix of sensory experiences, created by the harmonious integration of learning, landscape and sculpture, and brought to life with works by artists including Julian Opie, Henry Moore and James Turrell.

The exhibition by Yinka Shonibare MBE, the sensitive restoration of the beautiful 18th-century chapel, and the installation of Roger Hiorns’ Seizure 2008/2013 were the crowning highlights of 2013 – the culmination of a 40-year journey led by Founder and Executive Director Peter Murray who founded YSP in 1977.

A perfect fusion of art and landscape, Yorkshire Sculpture Park has gone from modest beginnings to one of the finest outdoor museums one might ever imagine. In 2013 it really came of age – with art projects such as Yinka Shonibare’s extraordinary exhibition; the fruits of the expansion and consolidation of the landscape on both sides of the lake; and with the conversion of the chapel to house (as its inaugural exhibition) a major new work by Ai Weiwei.Stephen Deuchar, Chair of the Judges

Peter Murray CBE, YSP’s Founding and Executive Director is honoured to win the major award. He dedicates it to “[his] incredible staff, the artists with whom [YSP] is privileged to work with so closely, and [its] truly wonderful visiting public.”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park is in its prime and if you haven’t been, now’s your chance. With major exhibitions throughout Summer 2014 by Ursula von Rydingsvard, Ai Weiwei in the Chapel and open-air work scattered across the 500 acres of rolling landscape, it’s never been a better time to visit.




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