Tate St Ives celebrates its tenth birthday on 23 June. With nearly two million visitors to the gallery, a million more than anticipated, many highly successful exhibitions and a thriving education programme, the gallery has been both a critical and a popular success.
To mark this anniversary the gallery presents Barbara Hepworth: Centenary, a celebration of the centenary of this major sculptor’s birth, from 24 May – 12 October. A season of events is planned to coincide with the exhibition including concerts, poetry readings, film screenings and workshops for adults and children. In addition the gallery will be free to all visitors on 23 June and, from the tenth birthday through the summer, children visiting the gallery will be presented with a specially commissioned balloon.
- Tate St Ives was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1993 and welcomed its millionth visitor in 1998, ten years ahead of schedule.
- It is one of Cornwall’s most successful attractions, visited by 250,000 people annually, as opposed to the anticipated figure of 70,000 visitors per year
- The regenerative effects of Tate St Ives on the county have been significant and are estimated to have contributed a further £16.5 million spend per annum to the Cornish economy.
- Total number of visits to Cornwall grew by a staggering 47% between 1991 – 2001 (from 3.4 million to 5 million).
- Tate St Ives has, along with attractions such as the Eden Project, significantly extended the tourist season in Cornwall. Hotel figures for St Ives demonstrate unprecedented demand throughout the year.
- The gallery’s education programme, which provides a valuable service to the community, has developed relationships with over one hundred schools and colleges in the South West.
- The gallery has a dual role to play both in promoting and celebrating the work of the St Ives School of Artists and in showcasing major figures in British art.
- Successful exhibitions of St Ives artists include Wilhemina Barns Graham (1999-2000), Terry Frost (2002-3), Naum Gabo (2002), Patrick Heron (2001), Roger Hilton (1997-8), Peter Lanyon (200-1), John Wells (1998), and Bryan Wynter (2001).
- In the last three years Tate St Ives has initiated major exhibitions by artists such as Ian Hamilton Finlay (2002), Antony Gormley (2001), Barbara Hepworth (2003) and Richard Long (2002).
Tate St Ives is operated in partnership with Cornwall County Council, who own the building. The Tate Trustees and the County Council have for some time recognised the need to provide additional gallery space and better facilities at Tate St Ives for its many extra visitors each year. Tate and Cornwall County Council are currently discussing the options available for improving the gallery and, as with the creation of the gallery in 1993, will consult fully with local residents, businesses, and other organisations including the local authorities in St Ives and Penwith.