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The Bay Lights: the value of public art

Tonight, a new art installation called “The Bay Lights” will launch with 25,000 LEDs lighting up the western span of the Bay Bridge. It’s a darn good that that the work is getting international attention, because I am really “digging” online to find the best information about it, domestically! ;-) Mike Chino, at inhabitat.com, wrote an article about the light sculpture being the largest light sculpture in the world. I found this, earlier, article about fundraising for the project.

Apparently, they secured the funds! ;-)

The algorithm-controlled light sculpture designed by artist Leo Villareal will run for TWO YEARS without repeating itself. The lights will fall like rain, rise like champagne bubbles, and “swoop across the bay like passing clouds.” A slideshow of 11 images gives a sneak peek of the lightshow that will start tonight! Inhabitat.com says:

The last time we checked in with Leo Villareal, he had just installed a gigantic glowing LED Buckyball in NYC’s Madison Square Park. For The Bay Lights, Words Pictures Ideas founder Ben Davis called upon the acclaimed artist to create a monumental, first-of-its-kind light sculpture. A team of specially-trained riggers hand-wired 25,000 LED nodes on 300 vertical cables that run the length of the Bay Bridge’s 1.8-mile-long western span. The cables rise over 500 feet high, and the nodes are spaced at one foot increments.

In designing the Bay Lights, Villareal was inspired by the site of the Bay Bridge. The patterns that race across the span call to mind passing traffic and boats, cascading waves, and shifting weather conditions. An estimated 50 million people will view the installation over the course of its two-year run, and the patterns won’t be repeated a single time.

According to the Web site, the $8-million project is expected to bring in $97 million tourist dollars to the local economy!

-Bill at

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