I was delighted to witness the opening of the new Hepworth gallery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire – a place where I continue to spend part of my life, where I have two businesses.
Having previously invested much time and sweat in regeneration and developing the cultural life of the city, it is great to see the architects models of the new gallery – and also the wider city centre – now come to life.
Wakefield is on the verge of transforming itself as a genuine cultural tourist attraction but will fail to fulfil its potential if, however, it scores own goals as revealed in last week’s Wakefield Express (May 20).
On the one hand, the wonderful opening of the Hepworth reveals Wakefield Council to rightly blind itself to critics of spending £35 million on the new art gallery.
Yet the very same Council refuses planning permission and is blind to what can be called a ‘neon-light Banksy’ – the artwork of changing song lyrics on top of music studios in George Street, Wakefield; a development with no input or expense from the Council.
Wakefield can redefine itself.
It will require however, both a top-down investment in developments such as the Hepworth along with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and also an open-mindedness to bottom-up thinking –often from unusual or unexpected sources – to create a genuine cultural buzz around the place to really seize the opportunity we can create for ourselves.
The Hepworth is a great step forward: the decision to refuse the indigenous creativity of the neon song lyrics at George Street is one or more steps backwards.
How often are you guilty of being open-minded to one thing and paradoxically closed-minded to others? How much is this affecting your creative and innovative thinking or potential?
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