North Tyneside will welcome the premiere of a new outdoor art trail this weekend.
The SmileyWorld® Art Trail sees 15 bright and brilliant giant sculptures, based on human emotions, located across our town centres and coast.
It has been created through a collaboration between The Smiley Company® and creative producers Wild in Art.
The trail is funded by the Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority. The award was from an allocation specifically dedicated to culture, creative and tourism projects.
Visitors can use an app or printed map to find a range of instantly recognisable emotions, located in North Shields, Forest Hall, Killingworth, Tynemouth, Cullercoats, Wallsend and Whitley Bay. Designed to get people talking about their own emotions, they include admiration, calmness, anxiety, sadness, excitement, joy and pride.
Fifteen creatives have been tasked with interpreting, and responding to each one and their work will be found on the reverse of the sculptures.
The event follows in the footsteps of Morph’s Epic Art Adventure in 2022 which saw around 60,000 people take part, and The Snowman™ and The Snowdog trail during the winter of 2020. Both trails premiered in North Tyneside providing a boost to the local economy before going on to towns and cities around the UK.
Councillor Carl Johnson, North Tyneside’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “These larger than life trails are a positive way to support businesses, attract visitors and get people out and about for fresh air and exercise through to Easter.
“I’m really pleased that we were successful in securing the funding to bring such a high-profile attraction to the borough.”
Michael James, Chair of North Tyneside Business Forum, said “It’s really positive to have such a great event here to drive footfall at what can be a challenging time of year for businesses. I know previous trails have been very successful with thousands of people getting involved so I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.”
Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder, Wild in Art said: “This is the UK’s first SmileyWorld Art Trail and it will bring colour and creativity to the streets, spaces and places of North Tyneside. Each sculpture is a conversation starter, with a different emotion to explore through art and it’s wonderful to see such a wealth of artistic talent on display. It’s a great opportunity for people to enjoy a free, family-friendly activity outdoors and explore North Tyneside while discovering great art!”
The Smiley Company’s goal is to spread positivity through smiles, to make the world a happier, kinder place. Throughout the last five decades, all of its collaborations, partnerships and experiences have laddered up to this ethos, and as the Smiley team looks ahead to the next fifty years and beyond, they're constantly finding ways to show people how to smile back at the world.
Nicolas Loufrani, CEO The Smiley Company, comments: "This collaboration marks a new chapter in public art, fostering shared experiences, supporting local economies, and nurturing a love for creativity in communities. Join us on this vibrant journey, where art, smiles, and a celebration of emotions converge for a brighter, happier world".
The SmileyWorld® Art Trail runs from 26 January to 2 April in support of St Oswald’s Hospice. The app is available for iPhone and Android phones from the app store from Saturday.
Visitors can also download and print a map at home while a limited supply of souvenir maps will be available from Customer First Centres.
For further information see www.visitnorthtyneside.com.