See 10 Breathtaking Instagram Images of Leo Villareal’s ‘Bay Lights’

The bridge will be lit through 2026.

After a nearly a year in the darkness, Leo Villareal‘s The Bay Lights are once again in business. San Francisco celebrated the occasion with a fireworks show January 30.

With the Bay Bridge undergoing planned maintenance for much of 2015, The Bay Lights, first lit in 2013 for the span’s 75th anniversary, went dark this past March. The 25,000-LED light installation, organized by non-profit organization Illuminate, was so popular that it ignited a fundraising effort to ensure that the shimmering display between San Francisco and Oakland would remain a part of the evening skyline.

The original two-year installation cost $8 million, and the Keep ‘Em Lit Through 2026 campaign originally estimated a $12 million cost to continue operations for the next decade. Instead, a successful fundraising effort brought in $4 million for private donors, including a $2 million matching grant from Bay Area philanthropist Tad Taube.

The artwork has been gifted the to the people of California in exchange for ongoing stewardship by Caltrans and Bay Area Toll Authority.

“I am honored that the people of the Bay Area have chosen to bring The Bay Lights back and make it a permanent part of their lives” said Villareal in a statement, calling it “the ultimate compliment to an artist.”

The relighting was part of the festivities leading up to Super Bowl 50, which is being held Sunday, February 7, at Levi Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite its apparently simple concept, draping the bridge’s 300 cables with strings of twinkling lights, The Bay Lights is technologically quite complex, programmed with a unique software algorithm which constantly generates new, unique patterns.

The Bay Lights have become a global phenomenon and are now engrained in the cultural identity of California,” said Illuminate founder Ben Davis (not to be confused with artnet News national art critic Ben Davis) in a statement.

Here’s a few more of our favorite Instagram shots of the newly re-lit bridge in all its LED glory.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics