2019 set to be Year of Sculpture in Yorkshire

2019 is to be the Year of Sculpture after the dates for Yorkshire Sculpture International – the UK’s biggest sculpture event next year – were revealed, alongside a ground-breaking schools project to inspire artists of the future.

Yorkshire Sculpture International, a new project that has raised more than £1m, will take place from Saturday 22 June to Sunday 29 September 2019, across Leeds and Wakefield in the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield andYorkshire Sculpture Park.

There will also be brand new outdoor sculpture commissions in Leeds and Wakefield to encourage people to interact with art in new, unexpected places.

Event organisers, Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, will also launch the ambitious Year of Sculpture national school engagement project where, from September 2018, every school across the UK is invited to spend two days at Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle venues to learn what is meant by ‘great artists’ (as outlined by the English National Curriculum for Art & Design), and immerse themselves in sculpture, to inspire a new generation of artists from all walks of life.

Also, in partnership with Art UK, five Yorkshire schools will have the opportunity to host to a world-class sculpture for the day.

Meanwhile, a partnership with The Freelands Foundation will enable 10 teachers working in Yorkshire to take part in a Continuing Professional Development Programme to explore how sculpture can be used in the classroom. This has been developed in response to a call from teachers in the region to learn new ways of introducing 3D work back into schools.

Jane Bhoyroo, Producer of Yorkshire Sculpture International, said: “We’re creating the biggest sculpture event in the UK which will be completely free to visit. It’s very much aimed at a wide audience to build on the success of Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle’s four galleries and our amazing county.

“We hope that our ambitious schools project may one day create world-class artists by sparking their interest and imagination. At the core of Yorkshire Sculpture International is the aim to break down barriers to get everyone experiencing and talking about sculpture. Sculpture is for anyone who just wants to look at something amazing, something different or something that challenges them.”

The work on display for the inaugural event will respond to the provocation that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of art forms’ – in simple terms, looking at the basic human need to make and connect with objects. The theme has been chosen by renowned sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who represented Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Barlow’s work has been shown widely across the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle and two of her sculptures are permanently on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, while a collection of her drawings is held in the Leeds Museums & Galleries permanent collection.

Phyllida Barlow said: “Sculpture is an awkward and provocative discipline, constantly and persistently questioning itself. Yorkshire Sculpture International is an imaginative initiative – the renowned institutions centred in Leeds and Wakefield, which already constitute an exceptional focus on sculpture, will provide a challenging and inspirational opportunity to give priority to what sculpture is now – who it is for, what it is, and where and how it is located. No doubt each institution will reflect different concerns and raise questions around the rich potential of what sculpture can be – the more confrontational, surprising, difficult and thought-provoking, the better.”

Yorkshire Sculpture International has been awarded over £1milllion funding from a range of partners including a National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England and regional investment from Leeds 2023, Wakefield Council, Leeds Beckett University and The University of Leeds.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the first edition of Yorkshire Sculpture International with investment from the Arts Council. The Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle is already considered the UK’s home of sculpture, and this event will significantly strengthen the region’s international profile as a cultural destination. I am looking forward to seeing contemporary sculpture in Leeds’ and Wakefield’s world-class galleries and also in the public realm.”

For more information see www.yorkshire-sculpture.org/ysi