THOUSANDS of North Tynesiders lined up along the borough’s coastline last week to watch a light show staged to herald the coming of this year’s Olympic Games.
US artist Yvette Mattern’s Global Rainbow show, projected from St Mary’s Island, lit up the sky above Whitley Bay for five nights from last Wednesday.
The laser display was held to mark the launch of 2012’s Cultural Olympiad programme in the region.
Arts Council regional director Alison Clark-Jenkins said: “Global Rainbow is the perfect way to mark the start of this year’s cultural celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the north east.
“Not only is the project delivering art on a very large scale to many thousands of people, but it’s welcoming an international artist to the region.
“This is just a taste of what’s to come over the course of what is set to be a groundbreaking year for culture in the north east.”
Glynis Barrie, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, added: “I’m delighted that North Tyneside is hosting the UK premiere of this spectacular event.
“We recognise the importance of the Cultural Olympiad and have already launched our year of the games, a series of sporting and cultural activities to celebrate London 2012.
“This projection is one of many events that will be taking place.”
Global Rainbow was created in 2009 to mark what would have been the late Martin Luther King’s 80th birthday in New York City.
Its seven beams of light represent the colours of the rainbow and are intended to symbolise hope.
It has since been shown in Toulouse and Nantes in France and in Berlin.
Its five-night run in North Tyneside, staged by Newcastle-based arts production agency Amino, was funded by the council and Arts Council with support from Lightwave International.