The brilliant Bay Bridge LED light installation that has adorned the structure since 2013 will go dark on March 5. Caltrans is beginning a period of maintenance on the bridge's cables, and the artist's two-year permit is set to expire.
But there is good news for those who have grown to love the lights: They're set to make a comeback in January 2016.
Illuminate the Arts, a nonprofit created by "The Bay Lights" artist Leo Villareal, has raised $4 million in private funds to reinstall the lights in time “to shine for Super Bowl 50,” the group says. At that point, the work will officially become the property of Caltrans and the state of California, and they will be charged with maintaining the lights for the foreseeable future.
SF Weekly reports that Villareal is delighted that the exhibit will be returning in a more permanent way.
“Two years is a good, long run for a piece of public art,” Villareal said in a statement. “I am personally very satisfied with the experience and embrace the temporary aspects of the artwork. At the same time, I am humbled and honored that the people of the Bay Area have overwhelmingly expressed their interest in having the light sculpture remain and become part of their daily lives. There is no higher compliment you can pay a work of art than wanting to spend time with it.”
The 1.8 mile-long installation, which debuted March 5, 2013, consists of 25,000 programmed LED lights and reportedly costs about $30 per night to run.