San Francisco, CA

The Bay Lights

What if the San Francisco Bay Bridge were a canvas for light? That was the seminal question that ultimately sparked a diverse community to action and led to Leo Villareal's creation of the world's largest LED light sculpture.

The Largest LED Sculpture

The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary, artist Leo Villareal  creates a never repeating, dazzling display of 25,0000 LED white lights through March 2015 across the western span of the Bay Bridge, renamed Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge in February 2014.

A milestone in public art…

Christo

Even before going live, The Bay Lights was on its way to becoming a global sensation. A month before the grand lighting ceremony, Hemipsheres magazine listed the artwork as the number one thing to see in the world during 2013. Within the first six month, the artwork had garnered half a billion media impressions.

Locally, The Bay Lights were instantly embraced and beloved. The San Francisco waterfront surged with new vitality. Pedestrians strolled. Lovers kissed. Bars and restaurants reported a 30 percent increase in business. A group of more than 20 independent analysts from leading firms such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Google, Facebook and city agencies unanimously agreed that The Bay Lights boosts the regional economy by more than $100m annually.

The artwork seemed a perfect fit. “It feels like it’s always been here” was how one lifelong San Franciscan put it.

A true gift to our city.

Allison McCarthy, 7×7

Public art at its best—temporal, contemporary and indescribably beautiful.

Mary Tompkins Lewis, Wall Street Journal

Special Thanks

Illuminate the Arts would like to thank the following individuals and organizations who graciously joined The Bay Lights Cultural Alliance.

  • Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
  • Berkeley Center for New Media
  • Black Rock Arts Foundation
  • Black Rock City, LLC
  • Capacitor
  • Christo
  • Exploratorium
  • Friends of the Gateway
  • Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
  • Inner Mission SF
  • Maker Faire
  • ReBar Group
  • San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee
  • San Francisco Arts Commission
  • San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • San Francisco Film Commission
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • San Francisco Travel
  • San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
  • San Jose Museum of Art
  • SFMade
  • Southern Exposure
  • SPUR
  • Vau de Vire Society