Arts award for Illuminations installation

There will be an award winning 'Heart Beat' to this year’s Sunderland’s Illuminations and Festival of Lights.
‘Heart Beat’ is an 3D interactive light sculpture and will be part of the display in Roker Park this year. It has just been announced as winner in the ‘Best Light Art Scheme’ category of the prestigious international DARC - Decorative Lights in Architecture industry and design awards.

Based on the iconic heart design which is the universally accepted symbol of love and friendship, fragments of the heart can be seen from the different angles, but only visible as a whole from the front if people join hands or kiss to complete the circuit. 

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Heath, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: "I was already delighted when it was confirmed ‘Heart Beat’ would be part of this year’s event, so to learn now that it has just won this international design award makes its appearance even more special and something of a cultural coup for our city.

"We are submitting the second stage bid this week to become the UK City of Culture 2021, and being able to attract and host world class attractions such as this demonstrates our commitment to promoting arts and culture in as many ways as we can.
"People have many tastes and interests, and culture is all about being able to recognise, share and celebrate those in their many forms. The Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light does exactly that, with everything from Disney characters and panto stars adding to the display with something to entertain, inspire and involve everyone."    

Culture Bid Director, Rebecca Ball added: "It is brilliant that visitors to this year's Sunderland Illuminations will get to see the award-wining list installation Heartbeat. And it seems particularly fitting that this is a piece about love and friendship when we are bidding to be UK City of Culture and friendship is such a major theme of our bid."

Heart Beat is an original commission by Salford based Quays Culture

Quays Culture Programme Producer, Lucy Dusgate said: "Heart Beat encourages visitors to make a connection of love or friendship, by joining hands in front of the sculpture to complete the ‘circuit’ and reveal the symbol of the heart.
"Heart Beat is an extension of the GNI projects light loves collection, where the team have experimented with iconic heart imagery created in various illuminated media and for various events. The heart itself is only visible from one viewing angle, and for five seconds, after people have activated it by joining hands or kissing.

"When ‘heart mode’ is activated external viewers can see many different perspectives of the same sculpture. Sometimes they see totally random distantly spaced lines, sometimes swarms of angular crossing lines and sometimes fragments of the heart, or a heart broken in two pieces by the ECG pulse line. Only people drawn together at the optimal vantage point see the heart in its true form."

Tickets for the Festival of Light are available online now at


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Blockbuster West End shows are staged at the Sunderland Empire, the biggest theatre between Edinbugh and Manchester.


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