Bridge Officials Give Go-Ahead to Permanent Bay Lights | News

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Bridge Officials Give Go-Ahead to Permanent Bay Lights

Monday, December 15, 2014

Update: December 17, 2014
Illuminate the Arts announces the "best possible news": reaching the $4 million donation goal to make The Bay Lights permanent on the Bay Bridge. Plans call for removing the current installation in March 2015 and reinstalling a more robust network of LEDs by early 2016, in time for the Super Bowl, which will be held in February 2016 in the Bay Area at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Read more.

December 15, 2014
Last week brought a double-dose of good news for the Bay Lights, the kinetic light installation that has been dancing across the north face of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for nearly two years. On Wednesday morning, the Bay Area Toll Authority's (BATA) Oversight Committee approved a memorandum of understanding that is paving the way for the temporary art installation to become a permanent feature on the Bay. BATA unanimously agreed to fund the operation and maintenance of the sparkling LED installation when and if it becomes a permanent feature, at a cost of $250,000 a year.

That same day, Illuminate the Arts (ITA), the nonprofit that conceptualized the Bay Lights, announced the organization had received a $2 million challenge grant from noted Bay Area philanthropist Tad Taube, half of what must be raised by the end of the year to convert the art project into a fixture of the skyline. Taube has already inspired $1.7 million in private gifts, leaving ITA with a remaining deficit of $293,000 as of Dec. 11. 

Unveiled in March of 2013, the Bay Lights is a light sculpture made out of 25,000 LEDs designed by artist Leo Villareal. Originally intended as a temporary adornment to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge, the dazzling installation has become a treasured piece of the Bridge with many admirers. BATA’s decision helps set the stage for the removal of the Bay Lights in March 2015 and the reinstatement of an improved, permanent version in 2016, in time for the Super Bowl in San Francisco. The new LEDs will be designed to endure the harsh environment of the Bay.

ITA will also donate the permanent art installation to Caltrans, which is also a party to the memorandum of understanding. Donations to ITA are tax free.

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