Press Story

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is delighted to announce that Clare Lilley has been appointed to take up the role of Director in March 2022, as Founding Director Sir Peter Murray CBE retires.

The Trustees appointed Saxton Bamfylde, a global executive search company, who conducted an international search for the new Director. After a series of intensive interviews with an impressive shortlist of candidates Trustees, supported by Arts Council England, were extremely pleased to appoint Clare.

Over the years Clare has made an enormous contribution to the growth of YSP as it has developed into the leading international cultural organisation it is today. As Director of Programme, she has taken responsibility for temporary exhibitions and projects, the collection, learning and engagement at YSP which in 2014 was named the UK Art Fund Museum of the Year. Clare has been integral to a number of YSP’s buildings, including The Weston designed by Feilden Fowles, which in 2019 was shortlisted for the eminent RIBA Stirling Prize.

Combining art historical and contemporary knowledge, together with a passion for art outdoors and for enabling access to art for all people, Clare has expertise in developing and siting sculpture in the public realm. Her curated work with artists includes Ai Weiwei, Fiona Banner, Damien Hirst, Amar Kanwar, KAWS, Kimsooja, Alfredo Jaar, Shirin Neshat, Giuseppe Penone, Sean Scully, Yinka Shonibare CBE, David Smith, James Turrell, Joana Vasconcelos and Bill Viola. Her current curatorial project is North American artist Robert Indiana’s first major UK sculpture exhibition, opening at YSP on 12 March 2022.

Bringing a wealth of experience and passion to the organisation, Clare is active within the wider art world. Since 2012 she has curated Frieze Sculpture in London’s Regent’s Park, regularly contributes to publications, and recently appeared as an expert in the Landmark TV series on Sky Arts. Clare sits on the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection, the Advisory Group of the Yinka Shonibare Foundation and the Steering and Curatorial Groups of Yorkshire Sculpture International. She is a Trustee of Art UK, London and the George Rickey Foundation, New York.

Clare Lilley says:

I’m honoured to have been chosen to become the second Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and to lead the organisation through its next chapter. Over the years, it has been a privilege to work with Peter Murray in bringing exemplary art to millions of people. As we all face environmental and social challenges that are exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, I’m confident that YSP’s exceptional staff, trustees and supporters are well placed to face the challenges ahead and I relish the opportunity to make YSP even more dynamic and resilient. My love for YSP knows no bounds and my aspirations are of the highest order, as is my understanding of the Park’s complex nature and needs. I’m committed to developing this incredible institution in such a way that it is both more widely recognised as a world-leader and more meaningfully than ever serves art, artists and our increasingly diverse audiences.

Peter Clegg, Chair of YSP Trustees says:

The Trustees are thrilled to announce Clare’s appointment as our new Director, having emerged as the preferred candidate through a challenging process. She has shown through her curatorial work her ability to build on the extraordinary legacy of our Founding Director as well as leading us in new directions as we continue to increase and diversify of our audiences."

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England says:

From its beginnings in a marquee in a field the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has become one of the outstanding places in the world to see contemporary sculpture. Much of this success is due to the leadership and vision of Sir Peter Murray CBE who founded YSP in 1977. I’m delighted to welcome the appointment of Clare Lilley as the second Director of YSP and I have no doubt that she will continue to enhance the reputation of the organisation and the part that it plays in the community in Yorkshire. As the current Director of Programme she has already made a huge contribution to the achievements of YSP and I look forward to seeing the new developments under her leadership.”