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Dazzling 'Bay Lights' Installation Extends Its Stay in San Francisco

Leo Villareal's 25,000 LED light installation will shine on in 2016.
The Bay Lights by Leo Villareal illuminates the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. GIFs by Jordan Kinley

Bay Lights, a massive light installation that has adorned San Francisco's Bay Bridge since March 2013, is on track to becoming a permanent nighttime beacon in 2016. Last year, The Creators Project documented Leo Villareal's creation and installation of the 25,000 choreographed LED artwork. Originally the piece was slated for takedown in 2015, but according to The New York Times, Illuminate the Arts, the nonprofit responsible for bringing the light installation to life, has succeeded in raising $4 million, the baseline goal to permanently reinstall the work following a temporary takedown for bridge maintenance next year.


“For me the most successful art changes the way you see things, you can’t see things the same way once you’ve seen a great piece of art,” Villareal told The Creators Project. Using a process called "emergent behavior," he incorporated data from traffic, water, light and air to influence the fluctuating light patterns. Since its inception, over 50 million people are estimated to have seen the piece, which will become the property of the State of California at its time of reinstatement.

Villareal tests The Bay Lights from his laptop. Image via


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