The Hepworth Wakefield welcomed its millionth visitor today, just two and a half years since the gallery opened to the public.
The millionth visitor, Pauline Mackiewicz, from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia was over 10,000 miles away from home when Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield congratulated her as the millionth visitor just before 11.30am.
Pauline received limited edition prints, an exclusive Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle Experience, including tours at all four venues (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park), a Yorkshire hamper and an overnight stay in a top Leeds hotel.
Frances Quinn, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2013, helped the gallery to celebrate the arrival of its millionth visitor with a special bake. Visitors tucked into the unique taste sensation based on millionaire’s shortbread, inspired by the art of Barbara Hepworth.
The Hepworth Wakefield’s one millionth visitor, Pauline Mackiewicz said: ”I feel very privileged to be chosen as the millionth visitor, it was so unexpected and a little overwhelming.
“It’s my first visit to the gallery and what a stunning building it is. I have loved seeing the Hepworth plasters and that amazing view over the weir.
“And thanks to my friends from London and Wakefield who brought me here today.”
Since opening in May 2011, The Hepworth Wakefield has exceeded expectations, achieving its original annual target of 150,000 visitors per year in the first five weeks of opening. As well as exceeding visitor targets, the gallery has generated nearly £16m for the local economy and played an important part in the regeneration of Wakefield Waterfront and putting Wakefield on the international map.
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “Reaching the one million milestone is a very special moment for the whole of the team, our volunteers and supporters.
“It’s wonderful to see the gallery celebrating this landmark after only two and a half years. And of course, our congratulations to Pauline for being our special millionth visitor.”
The gallery will continue its week-long celebrations until December 8, with surprise visitor giveaways to mark the occasion and thank visitors for their continued support. These include limited edition prints, posters and goody bags to free gallery membership, afternoon tea in the Café Bar or even a private tour of the gallery with friends and family.
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Pictures during the week-long celebrations will be posted on the gallery’s new Instagram site: instagram.com/hepworthwakefield