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Curtain call for Noor Riyadh's citywide installations as exhibition continues to enthrall
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 04 - 2021

As the citywide installations of Noor Riyadh, one of the world's most exciting festivals of light and art, come to a close, residents are celebrating the inaugural festival's positive impact on the city and its community with more than 300,000 people having enjoyed the event to date.
Since opening on March 18, Noor Riyadh's 2021 theme of — 'Under One Sky' — has united more than 60 artists from over 20 countries, as well as residents of Riyadh, domestic tourists and international visitors, showing the power of inclusivity and shared humanity through art, all across the festival's 13 locations in Riyadh.
While the citywide installations provided over two weeks of fascinating light art for all to enjoy, the excitement has not yet concluded, with the exhibition 'Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s', remaining open until June 12, at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).
Speaking on the conclusion of the citywide installations, Director of Riyadh Art Khaled Al-Hazani said: "Noor Riyadh has united local and global communities through an immersive program specially designed to inspire and delight. Art has the power to transcend boundaries and nurture a universal dialogue, and the festival has successfully provided a platform, which is accessible to all.
"As the festival continues through the exhibition 'Light Upon Light: Light art since the 1960s', we look forward to continuing to engage our united community, and to developing this further through the other upcoming programs under the umbrella of Riyadh Art."
Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has thrived through special activities, both in-person and online, to maximize participation and community engagement through safe, creative, personal and immersive experiences.
Noor Riyadh has offered residents and non-residents of Riyadh the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of inspiring talks, tours, musical and cinematic performances, workshops, and family activities. Through the light art exhibition at KAFD, visitors can continue to enjoy workshops and tours until mid-June, with prebooking mandatory.
Advisor of brand and marketing to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City Hosam Al-Qurashi said: "This festival is a magnificent opportunity to bring together a global community to enrich the art and culture sector in Riyadh. The positive reaction of international and local visitors alike, as they experience the artworks created by all the artists of Noor Riyadh, is very inspiring.
"Noor Riyadh is a groundbreaking phenomenon in the cultural development of the city, and I look forward to witnessing the public's ever-growing affinity with both the festival and its artists."
"As well as providing awe-inspiring light art installations and a diverse program of special activities, the festival offered the opportunity for over 200 volunteers to enter the creative industries and gain professional experience. The project prioritized direct engagement with the community, and those that participated had the unique chance to be part of the positive changes within the arts and culture field in Riyadh."
Instrumental to the success of this debut edition of Noor Riyadh were its partners: General Entertainment Authority, Riyadh Municipality, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, King Abdullah Financial District, King Fahd National Library, Riyadh Front, Kingdom Tower, Digital City, JAX District.
Hundred percent of Noor Riyadh's ticket revenue, over SR300,000 to date, will go to two nominated charities: Kafeef, which supports the visually impaired and their families, and Saudi Autistic Society.
Noor Riyadh executive director, Miguel Blanco-Carrasco commented: "Noor Riyadh successfully united local citizens and international visitors alike through the power of light and art and we thank our partners for their support in making this possible.
"The impact the festival has had on the community has been incredible, and I am certain the experience will leave a lasting impression. With such a breadth of special events, it really was, and will continue to be, a festival for everybody to enjoy."
Noor Riyadh is the first initiative of Riyadh Art, a project comprising of more than 1,000 public art installations across Riyadh city and supported by one annual festival and one international sculpture symposium.
The groundbreaking festival moves Riyadh one step closer towards the Vision 2030 goal of establishing the city as one of the world's most livable. — SG

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