Sad end to a beautiful friendship

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AS Chairman of the Friends of Wakefield Art Galleries and Museums, I am writing to thank all those who have supported our organisation over the last 84 years.

We hoped to become Friends of The Hepworth Wakefield. Sadly the new management of The Hepworth Wakefield wish to introduce a members’ scheme, administered and organised by the gallery.

So, after decades of service to the arts in Wakefield, it would seem that our independent and democratic organisation will have to close. We may have been part of history but not part of the future.

The Friends can look back on their past with pride.

Climbing the steps of the Gallery in Wentworth Terrace gave the public a chance to see cutting-edge art. From 1927 to the present day, the friends were instrumental in over 150 works of art being donated to Wakefield Council, including works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Many of these works of art were at the time ground-breaking, and though today some may appear traditional, are nevertheless very valuable. They are the nucleus around which Wakefield’s Permanent Art Collection was built and the foundation from which the new Hepworth Wakefield Gallery has come into being. Without the generosity of friends, perhaps the new gallery would not have been born.

Let me make it abundantly clear that we wish the new gallery every success and, in the short time left to us, will do everything to support this wonderful venture and asset to the cultural life of our city. However, I would also like to make it abundantly clear that we would like to be part of the future. There are Friends of The Royal Academy, Friends of Leeds Art Gallery (The Leeds Art Collection Fund), Friends of The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and I could go on. I strongly believe that history and tradition are important and, in just simple practical terms, the marrying of the old with the new makes for a stronger and better future.

Monica Harper, Chairman of the Friends of Wakefield Art Galleries and Museums

Sir Bruce Forsyth.

YEP Letters: August 22