The Bay Lights project will have its Grand Lighting on March 5, 2013, but already onlookers have been dazzled during the testing of the kinetic installation illuminating the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. A total of 25,000 white lights have been strung on suspension cables along the north side of the bridge, and are being programmed to create an abstract moving pattern across the side facing outward toward San Francisco. The fine-art light "sculpture" will not be visible to motorists, but is expected to be seen by 50 million viewers from the waterfront or by boats traveling north of the bridge over the course of its two-year tenure.
The complex display is the work of artist Leo Villareal, whose best-known project is "Multiverse," with 41,000 LED lights in the tunnel that connects two wings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Intended to be a one-year project, it has been up for four years now and has been made permanent. MTC's Bay Area Toll Authority helped secure permits and environmental clearance for the Bay Lights project, which celebrates the bridge's 75th anniversary and the debut of the new Bay Bridge East Span in September 2013. For complete information, go to thebaylights.org.