Henry Moore Institute: Major refurbishment to transform popular Leeds art gallery as venue to close for a year
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It will be the first time in the 30-year history of the Henry Moore Institute that the venue will undergo such a transformation, which is set to include an improved entrance and a brand new activity space.
Visitors have just under a month to see the current exhibition ‘The Weight of Words’, which closes on November 26.
The refurbishment is a significant milestone for the prestigious sculpture centre that celebrated its 30th anniversary in the city this year.
Named after renowned artist Henry Moore, it hosts a rolling programme of free exhibitions alongside educational events.
Plans for the venue include a more welcoming entrance area where visitors can stay for longer and enjoy an enhanced shop. There will be a refreshed ‘alcove’ for creative activities, as well as new accessible toilets with baby changing facilities.
There will also be an improved entrance to the upstairs research library and improvements to a basement seminar room.
The team at the gallery are planning to replace the roof and install solar panels to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, but as a Grade II listed building, there are limitations to what can be done to its exterior.
While longer-term ambitions remain in place, the upcoming redevelopment will focus on making the venue’s internal spaces warm and inviting.
Laurence Sillars, Head of the Henry Moore Institute, said: “We are delighted to be making some significant changes to our building so that our audiences can continue to grow, access and enjoy our exhibitions, research and our collections.
“These alterations will bring a significant step-change to how, and where, our programmes are experienced, retaining our world-renowned research facilities while ensuring that young people — our potential great creative thinkers of the future — feel at home.
“We’re looking forward to reopening our doors next summer with revitalised spaces that better serve our visitors and the vibrant communities of Leeds and beyond.”
Leeds-based firm Group Ginger has been appointed to work on the refurbishment.
During the closure, an off-site research project ‘Brancusi in Britain’ will run from February to June 2024 focusing on the work of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. The venue’s Archive of Sculptors’ Papers and Sculpture Research Library will remain open by appointment only.
In summer 2024, the Henry Moore Institute will reopen with a free exhibition by Australian sculptor Hany Armanious, whose work explores the “magical properties of the casting process”.